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|n Siv Volumes. 






In the few lines which appeared as the General 
Preface in the First Volume of this Work, I expressed 
(what I sincerely felt) a sense of the solemnity of my 
position as a voluminous theological wiiter. What I 
felt seriously then I feel much more deeply now, that 
the last of six volumes is issuing from the press. 

This sense of solemnity may well be deepened by a 
recollection of the early age at which I commenced 
authorship. The first edition of my Theology was 
published in the year 1827, when I was but thirty-six 
years of age — an early period of life, it maybe thought, 
for writing on a class of subjects which demand not 
only a well-furnished mind, but a mature judgment. 
My system, however (if I may be allowed the expres- 
sion), was not then new to me; I had arrived at it, 
not only at the earliest period of my ministry, but in 
my earliest experience of religion. My father (whose 
memory I justly revere) was a Moderate Calvinist of 
the Andrew Fuller type ; and I recollect well, while my 
entrance on the ministry was yet under consideration, 
reading to him the plan of a sermon on Mark vi. 12 : 
"They went out, and preached that men should repent." 
I noticed, in the first place, the things implied: as, first, 
that men were sinners ; and, secondly, that they were 
able to repent. I seem to see at this moment the genial 
laugh into which he broke out, as he exclaimed, "Ah! 


boy, boy, that will never do!" And he proceeded to 
indoctrinate me into the theory of " moral inability." 
I then took the ground, however, that, as unwillingness 
did not constitute inability, and that, as calling it so, 
even witli the qualifying term moral, was liable to be 
misunderstood, I would discard the phrase, and uni- 
formly speak of man as ahle to do his duty. I have 
done so ever since. And now, that for more than 
half a century I have been a professor of religion, 
for nearly half a century a teacher of it, and for nearly 
forty 3^ears an argumentative writer on it, I have 
to confess, or ra,ther to affirm, that my theological 
system is in this, and in all its leading features, 

I might, after so extended a period, have had to look 
back on some of my earlier writings Avith regret, and 
to retract, or materially to qualify, some of my less 
mature statements. I mis'ht have e'one from the new 
ground which I ventured to occupy, as some who 
differed from me warned me I should, into the regions 
beyond, and have been led to the abandonment of im- 
portant Gospel truth. Most sincerely do I thank God 
that neither of these issues has been permitted to arise. 
In preparing these volumes for the press some matter 
for revision, of course, I have found, but I have no 
material statement to revoke, or to modify; and the 
views maintained in my earliest theological writings I 
can commend to the reception of my readers now, as 
stamped with all such authority as an advanced period 
of life, and a long course both of scriptural study and 
of ministerial experience, can attach to them. I am 
well awai'e that these circumstances are far from con- 
stituting a demonstration that my opinions are true ; 
Ijiit they may fairly encourage, both my hope that they 


ure so, and ni}' conlidence in commending them to the 
consideration of my brethren. 

It has been made an objection to the views I have 
advocated that they constitute a natural steppingstone 
to opinions more decidedly erroneous. 

"We are constrained to express our serious conviction," says my 
reviewer in tlie Gospd Herald, "that it is from Mr. Hinton's own 
stand-fjoint in Tlieology that not a fevi^ luive gone forward into semi- 
Socinian errors. . . . Taught that man lias })oiver of himself to 
believe the Gospel savingly, and that the Gospel is the instrument of 
Ood's moral government, they have proceeded to deny any necessity 
for the Holy Spirit's work in regeneration, and have mei-ged the moral 
government of God m a merely paternal mode of dealing with his 
erring children, and have declared themselves justified morally and 
logically in so doing." 

I am undoubtedly sorry if the opinion which the 
reviewer here expresses represents a fact. Even if it 
does so, howevei-, it is a fact for w^hich I am not 
responsible, and which contains no argument. Men 
have gone into error from all stand-points, and no mail 
is safe at any stand-point unless God keep him. The 
only real question is, Is Moderate Calvinism, as a system, 
script arally true ? If it be, my counsel is. Hold it, and 
look to God to keep you. It would be a poor apology 
for maintaining erroneous views that, in doing so, you 
were less likely to fall into error. Of all stand-points, 
we may depend upon it that the truest is the 


It is to me passing strange, however, that any man 
should proceed to deny " any necessity for the Holy 
Spirit's work," because it is proved to him that he " has 
power of himself to believe the Gospel savingly," when 
at the same time it is demonstrated to him that, 
although he can, he wiU not. Does, then, this deep, 
and practically prevalent, aversion of his heart require 


110 overcoming powei* ? Or will it yield to 11113^ power 
but that of the Holy Sj^irit ? No man, I think, can 
logically deny the necessity of the Holy Spirit's influ- 
ence, until he has learned to believe — what assuredly 
I have never taught — that he is of himself, not only 
able to believe unto salvation, but wUUng, also. 

The allegation that I have affirmed "the Gospel to 
be the instrument of God's moral government" is un- 
founded and untrue, as a reference to the passages 
referred to b}^ my reviewer would immediately show. 
What I have asserted is that the Gospel is an instru- 
ment of God's moral government — one, indeed, of 
several ; the covenant of Eden being the first, the 
moral law the second, and the Gospel the third. Such 
a view, it is evident, can by no logical process lead 
to an exclusively paternal view of the divine admini- 

With what actual effect I have written it is not for 
me either to judge, or to conjecture. I thank God if 
he has given me grace to speak in Christian sincerity, 
and I thank my bi'ethren for the Christian kindness 
with which they have listened to me. For the rest, it 
is enough for me that the truth OF GoD WILL LIVE. 

It has not escaped my observation, however, tliat, 
among critics who agree in their hostility to my 
doctrinal views, a wide diversity of opinion exists as to 
the practical influence of my writings. My reviewer 
in the Gospel Herald, speaking of Theology, says it is 
a work wliich, " together with subsequent volumes by 
the same author, has done more to mould the rising 
ministry of the denomination than any other influence 
that could be named." 

An opinion diametrically opposite to this, on the 
other hand, has been expressed by my reviewer in the 


Primitive Church Ilagazine. Referring to my "divinity 
system," he says: — 

"Since the first appearance of this 'Moderate Calvinism' in the 
pages of the Oxford Eiicyclojioidia, now some forty years ago, down to 
the present dajr, it has secured no considerable sympathy, created no 
Jiarty, and formed but few isolated friendships. AVe by no means agree 
with a respected contemporary that 'Mr. Hinton's writings' 'nave pro- 
duced anything like jJermanent effects. For a short time the system 
attracted attention on the score of novelty ; but there was found to 
be about it so much that unsettled, and so little that confirmed, the 
average faith of the churches, that it was speedily laid aside, and 
almost forgotten. We seriously question whether there is a man in 
the three kingdoms who has read Mr. Hintou's Theology a second 
time. It has already had its day; and though its author may 
administer a few kind stimulants to restore an impossible animation, 
it is doomed, like its prototype, Baxterianism, to pass away, and be 
no more. " 

Which of my censors is nearest the mark let well- 
informed observers judge, it is not for me, of course, 
to express any opinion on so personal a matter ; but 
the manner in which this edition of my Theological 
Works has been received hardly looks as thougli the 
prophecy of the latter writer would be fulfilled. I 
certainly am not at all sorry that I have " created no 
party;" this never was either my object, or m}^ wish. 
Nor, indeed, was it possible ; for my views are not — - 
were not — new. The party of Moderate Calvinists — • 
waiving for the present all reference to the evangelists 
and the apostles^existed long before I was born ; 
originated in France,* developing itself in the United 
States, and owning Andrew Fuller as its principal 
champion in England. I am but an humble follower 
in the train. If my controversial writings have had 

* I make this statement on the authority of a wiiter iu a distingiiished 
American periodical, wliich I read some years ago, but the name of which 
I cannot now recall. The author of tlie system is stated to have been 
31. Cameron, a French Protestant minister. 


any value, it is that by them I have spoken to the men 
of the age in which I have lived, and have thus contri- 
buted somewhat to the wider diffusion, and, perhaps, 
somewhat to the more distinct expression, of a theolo- 
gical system which I believe to be more scriptural than 
any other known among the churches. 

For his great mercy to me in this respect I devoutly 
thank the God of all grace ; and I commit the whole 
work which I am by these lines completing to the 
hands of my brethren, with earnest prayer that He 
will accept it as a not unwilling offering to his service, 
and render it subservient to his glory. 

LoxNDOX, May 29, 1865. 



The Awakening Call. 


Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion I" — IsniiiJi lii. 1 . . . 1 

"The Time is Short." 

' But this I say, brethren, the time is short. It remaiueth, that both they 
that have wives be as thougli they had none : and they that weep as 
though they wejit not; and tliey that rejoice as though they rejoiced 
not ; and they that buy as though they possessed not ; and they that 
use this world as though they used it not ; for the fashion of tliis world 
passeth away." — 1 Corinthians vii. -Id-Sl 

The Incarnation of our Lord Je,sus. 
And the Word was made flesh."' — John 36 

The ilvsTERY of God's Ways. 

' Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, Ood of Israel, the 

Saviour." — Isaiah xlv. 15 48 

"The Me.ssengers of the Churches, and the 
Glory of Christ." 

Vi'h.ether . . . our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers 
of the churclies, and the gloiy of Clirist." — 2 Corinthians viii. 23 . . (32 


God's Care of his Saints in Death. 


' Precious in the sight of tlie Lord is the death of his saints."— PmYto 

CXVi. 15 n/. 

" I SHALL Die in my Nest." 
"Then I said, I shall die in my nest."— Jo&xxix. 18 98 

On the Difficulties of Speculative Inquiry. 

"When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me."— Psalm 

Ixxiii. 16 Ill 

The Loveliness of Jesus. 
"Thy name is as ointment poured forth."— Crt«<((.'?csi. 3 . . . . 124 

The Gospel the Power of God. 

" For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish fooHshness, but 

unto us who are saved it is the power of God."— 1 Corinthians i. 18 . 135 

On Preaching. 

" For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not 
God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that 
believe." — 1 Corinthians i. 21 145 

The Happiness op the Pious Dead, 

" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord."— Revclatiou xiv. 13 . . 169 

The Final Gathering. 

"The general assembly and church of the first-born, which are wi-itten 

in ]\ea.\-en."— Hebrews xii. 23 133 

Believers Crucified with Christ. 

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him." — Romans vi. C . 198 


Ox Love to God. 


" Them that love God."— Romans \-iii. 23 205 

Christ our Righteousxess, 

"Christ Jesus, who of God is made imto us . . . righteousness." — 

1 Corinthians i. 30 212 

The IN^YARD Evicexce. 

'He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself." — 

1 John V. 10 220 

Christ our Example ix Sufferixg. 
' The cup wMch my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it ? " — John xviii. 11 230 

The Recompexse of the Eeward. 
' He had respect unto the recompense of the reward." — Hebrev;s xi. 26 . 239 

The Blessixg of Abraham. 

' I wUl bless thee, . . . and thou shalt be a blessing." — Genesis xn. 2 . 249 


What Constitutes a Truly Happy Life? . . . 261 

The Predictions of Moses Concerning the Jews . . 277 

The Romish Hierarchy ix Exglaxd . . . 292 

The Ultimate Grouxd of Missionary Operations . . 312 




Moderate Calvinism Re-examined . . . 329 

On the Covenant of Eden . . . . . 331 

Of the Universal Aspect of Eedemption . . . 349 

Of the Particular Aspect of Piedemption . . . 358 

A Review of the Bishop of London's Three Sermons 

ON The Church ...... 379 

The Quarterly Review and the Dissenters . . . 418 

A Letter to the PiIght Hon. Lord Bexlev, President of 

the British and Foreign Bible Society . . 479 



Of the twenty Sermons here introduced only five have been pub- 
lished : the two preached for the Baptist Missionary Society, and 
three of the Funeral Sermons — that for the Revs. Dr. Yates and 
W. Knibb, that for Mrs. Steane, and that for tJie Eev. John Birt. 
The remaining Funeral Sermons — those for Mrs. W. Alcock, and for 
Mr. Benjamin Williams and his son Theophilus, were by request 
printed, but were not published. Of the Sermons on general subjects 
several have appeared in a monthly magazine — The Churdi — in which 
they were inserted as papers ; but, siilce they were in point of fact 
Sermons, first preached and afterwards "svritten for the magazine, I 
have here preserved them. A portion of the Sermons remains, with 
the original publication of which I may say that I had nothing to do. 
They are reported Sermons ; having most, if not all of them, appeared 
in the Penny Pulpit, the proprietor of which published whatever he 
expected to suit his purpose, without asking any leave, or giving an 
opportunity for any corrections. I have so far been forced into print, 
and, in some respects, to my regret. On the one hand, I have had no 
choice as to the matter thus presented to the public ; and, on the 
other hand, I have had no control over the form in which it has 
appeared. Evils attaching to the latter I have done what I could to 
remedy by a careful revision ; but evils incident to the former I have 
been obliged to leave untouched — having, indeed, reason to be thank- 
ful that I find nothing to regret but some degree of repetition, a 
fault of which, if I had had a choice, however, I would not have 
been guilty. I have thought it better to preserve these Sermons as 
samples of my ordinary ministry; a light in which, while the general 
reader will candidly accept them, they may possess to a particidar 
class of my readers an especial interest. 



" Awake, awake; put ou thy strength, O Zion!" — Isaiah lii. 1. 

These quickening words were addressed to the ancient 
Israel when the purposes of divine mercy were ripening, 
and their captive tribes were about to re-people the desolate 
land. You will probably deem us guilty of no violence to 
the Sacred Oi'acle, if we consider it as applicable to the 
spiritvial Israel, in the anticij^ation of those greater blessings 
of which all that was done of old was but an emblem and a 

I need not now stay to prove that brilliant prospects are 
before the church, or to expatiate on the glories of the latter 
day; nor is it necessary here to argue the near approach of 
them. These are points on which there is a sufficiently 
general agreement among the present auditory, and, indeed, 
among Cliristian professors at large, to warrant an appeal to 
the heart without the prelude of an argumentative discussion. 
It may be presumed, too, that your hearts, as many of you 
as are Christians indeed, are fully prepared for such an 
appeal. The i^rospect of a renovated world and a reigning 
Saviour, is assuredly not onfe to which you are indifferent. 
You cannot be strangers to the holy and delightful anticipa- 
tion of it ; even from the vale of tears, you ofttimes look 
"over the gloomy hills of darkness," watching and longing 
for the coming glory. Or, if it be not so with us, it is quite 
time that it were, and that we should all of us awake out of 
sleep. The voice of our returning Lord sounds in our ears, 
and is adapted both to arouse the dormant from their slum- 
bers, and to quicken the watchful to action: "Awake, 
awake, Zion ! Put on thy strength." 

* Preached for the Baptist Missionary Society, at Surrey Chapel, 
June 16th, 1830. 


We consider this addi-ess as a call to exertion — a call 
addressed to the whole church, and, therefore, to every 
member of it — to be employed in a manner tending to the 
accomplishment of the expected triumphs. The topics to 
which we shall advert are of two classes : first, those which 
justify it; and, secondly, those which enforce it. 

I. We consider, in the first place, the considerations which 
jxistify this appeal. 

I. It is obvious, ui the first place, that the passage assumes 
the 2)Ossession of sufficient strength for accomplishing the end 
designed. It was thus, in fact, with the captives of Chaldsea 
at the time to which the prophecy refers, since every facility 
was afforded them for their return, which required only the 
courage to brave its hardships and its perils. In like 
manner, we are to suppose that the friends of God are not 
called upon to apply themselves to the conquest of his 
enemies without adapted and proportionate means. We are 
not summoned to do anything without strength, or beyond 
our strength; the exhortation is simple and intelligible, 
" Put on thy strength." Of course it will be hei^e understood 
that we speak of the possession of means, or of instrumental 
strength, alone; and necessarily so, seeing that nothing but 
an instrumental agency is assigned in any case to man. As 
to effectual agency, " cdl things are of God." With respect to 
o\ir own province, however — that, namely, of instrumental 
action — oui- strength is ample, though the conversion of 
the world be the object of it. 

If it were necessary to establish this sentiment, we might 
observe that the conversion of the world, as to the instru- 
mental accomplishment of it, is left altogether in the hands 
of the church. It is committed to the saints, and no other 
parties are to be employed in it; a fact from which alone we 
might conclude that they are in possession of sufficient 
strength for the purpose. Where otherwise would be the 
wisdom, or even the safety, of such a trust? 

But wherein does our strength for the reconciliation of 
the world consist? Strength, in all cases, is the possession 
of adapted and sufficient means. Now the means of con- 
verting a sinner is the truth of the Gospel, as comprehended 
in the Sacred Oracles. We have no means of converting a 
sinner but this, and, if we proceed rationally to the work, it 
is by some method of bringing the Gospel to bear upon his 


heai-t and conscience ; as either by tlie ministry of the word, 
the circulation of the Scriptures, familiar conversation, or 
otherwise. The question, therefore, whether we possess 
adapted and sufficient means for the conversion of sinners, 
resolves itself into one respecting the adaptation and suffi- 
ciency of the Word of God. Is divine truth adapted and 
sufficient to this end? To this point inspired testimony 
is most dii-ect and express. See the language of David in 
the 19th Psalm. Hear also the apostle affirm that the Holy 
Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation. Matters 
of fact bring us to the same point; for sinners have been 
converted by divine truth in eveiy age, and none have ever 
been tiu-ned from the error of theii- ways by any other 
means. A weapon which does its work so well can suffer 
no imputation on its adaptation and sufficiency. Nor upon 
any other ground can we suppose that it would have become 
the chosen weapon of the Most High; for then it must have 
entailed, either a disappointment of the expectations formed 
from it, or a necessity for the du-ect interference of his 
power to remedy a defect of his wisdom. 

If any attempt should be made to invalidate or to evade 
this argument by referring to the necessity of divine 
influence, we reply that divine influence is undoubtedly 
necessaiy to give the Gospel success. But it is also neces- 
sary to give success to the use of means in every other 
case; whether to the speciilations of the merchant, or the 
labours of the husbandman. If, therefore, the necessity of 
divine influence in order to success is to hinder us from 
speaking of the sufficiency of means in one case, it must also 
in every other; there can then be no sufficient means for 
anything, because God's blessing is necessary to eveiything. 
We must leave such objectors as these to invent a new 
vocabulary for the ordinaiy affairs of Hfe; and when they 
have done so, we shall make no scruple in adopting it for 
religious uses, though, we suspect, with little advantage to 
their cause. In the meantime it may be enough to say, that 
the means of converting sinners are sufficient for that end, 
just in the same sense, and to the same extent, as means are 
sufficient to any other end; success in all cases being alike 
dependent on the blessing from above. 

Let us put the sentiment before us to another test, by a 
hypothetical calculation of the effects which might probably 


arise from a vigorous use of the divine AVord. Of course, it 
is impossible to speak with precision, but it may be thought 
probable that every jiei'son who earnestly seeks the salvation 
of those around him may be blessed to the conversion of one 
sinner in the course of a year. Now, supposing this, and 
that there were at this moment but one liundred Christians 
in the world, all of them, and their successive converts, so 
labouring and so successful continually, 800,000,000 of 
persons, that is to say, the whole population of the heathen 
world, would be converted in about thirtj^ yeai'S. But the 
world already contains many thousand Christians; can it be 
said, therefore, in the face of such a calculation, that they 
are inadequate to the conversion of the world? Or, if it be 
thought that these resources are inadequate now, how 
gricA'ous a miscalculation must have been made when the 
same work was left in the hands of a despised and perse- 
cuted band, the number of whose names together was but 
one hundred and twenty ! 

We maintain, then, that the church is in possession of 
adapted and sufficient means for the conversion of the world. 
It needs nothing more than to bring the ti'uth. of God into 
close contact with the heart of man, and the expected result 
will follow. Now, if there be in our hands adapted and 
sufficient means for bringing about the universal triumphs 
of the Gospel, there is manifest justice in the stirring appeal 
by which Ave are roused into action. " Awake, awake ; piit 
on thy strength, Zion!" Persons who v/ould reply to svich 
a call, " What is the use of telling me to labour? It is God 
who must do everything " — would merely subject themselves 
to a severe and indignant reproof, and a direct charge of 
making their pretended want of power a pretext for theii- 
love of sloth. Let none of iis so deceive ourselves, or so 
insult our Lord. When, as the hosts of his warfare, he 
summons us to his help, he says, Here is your sword ; which 
of us is prepared to turn upon him, and say, But is it of 
proper temper for the war? 

2. We observe, secondly, that the text assumes, not only 
the possession of adequate strength, but the /act of inadequate 
exertion. It is appropriate only to a state of compai'ative 
indolence and slumber. " Awake, awake ; put on thy 
strength ! " That this was the case with the exiled tribes 
when the period of their restoration arrived, is well known; 


but it may seem hard, perhaps, and to some incredible, that 
we should have any design of applying this topic to present 
times. There have been ages when the church slumbered, 
but these surely are long past ; and, as for the present, 
this is pre-eminently the age of exertion and of zeal. 

It is not, dear brethren, either in ignorance of what is 
doing, or in depreciation of it, that we sjieak; but, admitting 
that there is much to commend and to be thankful for, we 
may not spend the short time which is allotted to us here 
either in enlogy, or in thanksgiving. I^either can we now 
indulge in retrospection — a too favourite employment, 
perhaps — and put the incipient exei-tion of the present 
in flattering comparison with the sluggishness of the past. 
Be it so, that we do a little more than those who did 
nothing, are we to be everlastingly feeding our jjride with 
this fond recollection, while, if we look at our utmost 
exertions in comparison with our means and our obligations, 
we shall find ample reason to cover ourselves with shame? 
If any man's heart fails him, and he wants matter of 
encouragement and of thankfulness, let him look at the past 
and he will find it; but for what other purpose should the 
retrospect be taken? If it should ever be lingered over with 
a doting fondness — not so much to say, What hath God 
wrought ! as, What hath man wrought ! not so much for 
adoring the Giver of all good, as for admiring the creature 
into whose emptiness his goodness has been poured ; not so 
much to nerve us for mightier efforts, as to luxuriate in 
past and partial success — the professing world would surely 
become bloated with self-complacency, and so passionately 
fond of the sweet food to which it had been accustomed, as 
to be rendered, not only inaccessible to the influence of 
healthy stimulants, but even resentful of their application. 
This would be a punj", a childish, and a mischievous method, 
and would indicate anything rather than a vigorous grasp of 
the vast object before us, and the deep influence of the 
motives which should impel us to its attainment. At all 
events, congratulation is not our object now; but the much 
more salutaiy, though less pleasing, one, of showing how far 
the Christian body at large yet is from bringing its whole 
resources to bear on the accomplishment of its triumphs. 

For this purpose let us first look at contributions of a 
pecuniary kind, in which it is obvious that the principal 


efforts of this age, and the whole efforts of many indiW 
duals, consist. Duly thankful to every contributor, and not 
wanting, we hope, in Cliristian respect and kindness to any, 
whether contributors or not, we yet ask whether, even 
in this direction, anything like the whole resources of Zion 
are brought forward. We know the honoured liberality of a 
few individuals; but why is such liberality yet an individual 
matter, and not general in proportion to our wealth 1 The 
eulogy of a few in this respect is the scandal of the many. 
When will all Christians be such that the now conspicuous 
few shall be lost in the crowd 1 We know, too, the afflictive 
cases in which contributions have perhaps exceeded the 
bounds of wisdom or of duty, though it is not quite in a 
millennial spirit that they are made so often a pretext for 
covetousness. But the cases are vastly more numerous in 
which contribution falls below the level of just obligation; 
in which it is made of a customary amount, irrespective of 
proportionate ability; in which it is made under worldly or 
personal considerations, rather than the influence of a divine 
law; and in which, though it is paid with easy regularity, 
like a tax or a rate, it would be very long in sprmging 
unsolicited from a devout and a grateful heart. Even if the 
actual amount of money raised at the present day were pro- 
portionate to the wealth possessed, there is about the general 
system of its collection something so unlike the hallowed 
principle and the eager forwardness of primitive times, that, 
if the record of it were inserted in the New Testament, 
it could scarcely fail of being pronounced an apocryphal 

But there is another direction in which Christian activity, 
if consistent, might be expected to appear. We refer par- 
ticularly to direct individual exertion for the salvation of 
souls; such as is described in the Old Testament by everj^ 
man saying to his neighbour. Know the Lord ; and in the 
New, by shining as lights in the world, holding forth the 
Word of life. This mode of exertion on the part of eveiy 
Christian, without exception, arises naturally out of the 
existence of gi-acious character, which both ci-eates the 
adaptation and sui)plies the motives to it. This capacity 
of action unquestionably holds a place among the resources 
which the church possesses for the advancement of its 
triumphs. It is not only a part, but a very important part, 


of Zion's strength. We may go further, and say, that it is 
by far the largest and most important part of it, and that to 
•which all else is either subordinate or inferior. To this all 
pecuniary contributions are manifestly subordinate ; the only 
possible utility, and, indeed, the only design, of them being to 
enable some persons to do tliis veiy thing. And, as for the 
Word of God, which has doubtless a sufHciency, and some- 
times an efficacy, apart from direct instrumentality, it is 
more adapted to i^roduce the wished-for effects when it is 
associated with the force of the living voice, and the breath- 
ings of affectionate anxiety. The dii-ect communication and 
personal application of divine truth, therefore, takes the 
})recedence of all other means for the conversion of sinners. 
It is emphatically Zions streiu/th. 

Only try the experiment. If this method alone were 
adopted, and every person who knows the Lord were to 
make only such efforts for the conversion of others as the 
most scrupulous pru.dence might sanction, what an immense 
multitude of instruments would immediately be bx'ought 
into operation, all of them fitted for their work, and pecu- 
liarly fitted for it in their several stations, because they 
would bring into bearing the personal and relative influences 
of life. This whole amount of activity would be constant, 
without expense, wdthout sacrifice, without "violent eftbrt, 
witliout exhaustion. It would in every case engage the 
heart, that most effectual of all methods of reacliing the 
heart of another. The church has no capacity of magnitude 
and force for a moment to be compared with this. The 
whole missionary host does not constitute a tithe, nor the 
tithe of a tithe, of it; and, if the system of universal per- 
sonal endeavour were but acted upon, the entire missionary 
appai'atus of the present day, magnificent as it now seems, 
njight be almost overlooked in the much wider and vaster 
activity of which it would form but an inconsiderable 

How can it be said wdth any semblance of truth, that in 
this respect Ziou has put on her strength? We speak not of 
individuals, whom here w^e cannot stay to eulogize ; we speak 
generally of those who may be considered as Christians 
indeed; and we ask, whether there are not many of them 
who never thiak of such a thing as trying to convert a 
.sinner; who are so much strangers to the obligation of it, 


that they stand in vacant wonder when it is pressed upon 
them; and so dead to all the motives to it, that they give 
utterance to nothing in reply but evasions and excuses? 
This is undeniably the case to an immense extent in the 
domestic circle, where every facility exists for such endea- 
vours; and yet more extensively in the sphere of relations, 
acquaintances, and neighbours, who seem to be as quietly 
left as though their courses of sin were only different ways 
of going to heaven. The great exei'tions of this age are 
made upon a principle which tends to paralyze the principal 
aggressive force of Christianity. Everything, or almost 
everything, is to be done by societies. But the strength of 
the church does not lie iu societies. It would be of no 
advantage if thei'e were a society, with all its officers, for 
the conversion of eveiy house, any further than the force of 
individual character was brought into beai'ing; and, if this 
could be otherwise secured, the machinery of societies were 
much better dispensed with. A gi-eat part of what is done 
by Mr. Secretary, Mr. Treasurer, the committee, and the 
collectors, is just so much withdrawn from what the same 
persons might do in their single capacity, if those whom 
they have to stimulate would but be active without them. 
The complicated movements of public bodies, Avhicli consti- 
tute so large a part of the efforts of the present age, and 
occupy so large a space in the jiublic eye, instead of being of 
any inti'insic value, are an indication that the force of cha- 
racter is too feeble to act without such artificial help, and 
a deduction of a very large percentage from the resources 
which are available for the conversion of the world. The 
thing of principal value is that eveiy man should be at his 
post, and effectively discharging his particular duty, by 
labouring vigorously for the conversion of those to whom he 
has access. The strength of Zion lies in the many thousand 
hearts which love her Loixl, and the many thousand tongues 
which are fitted to plead his cause. A society, for the most 
part, is a scheme in which a great many Christians give 
their money to enable some to plead for God while the rest 
are silent, and as an apology for their silence. It opens the 
mouths of the few, and shuts those of the many; and thus, 
upon the whole, while so pervei'ted, it does more harm than 
good. Combined endeavours for the accomplishment of 
objects -which are beyond the reach of individual strength 


are admii-able, when added to the exertion of individual 
strength for tliat which is not beyond our reach; but, apart 
from this, they are feeble, and, when used to supersede it, 
they are injurious and absurd. The mechanism of societies 
bears upon no man's heart or conscience ; it has itself no 
heart, but tends to withdraw from operation the main mover 
of the moral world, and to substitute for it a mere engine 
for collecting money, and for giving receipts, which many 
persons take as a discharge in full for all their obligations to 
Christianity, and to the world. Our strength lies nowhere 
but in the heart, and the heart of the poorest Christian 
constitutes a much more impoi-tant portion of it than the 
treasures of the wealthiest. If eveiy Christian would but 
try heartily to convert every sinner he meets with, it would 
effect more than all the thousands which are poured into the 
treasury of the Lord, and the machinery of all the religious 
societies in the world. 

The truth is, therefore, that the church sleeps. Let us all 
hear the voice of him who is at once weary and grieved at 
our slumbers : "Awake, awake, O Zion ! Put on thy strength !" 
What we have yet exerted is only our feebleness. We have 
much morft powerful means of making an impression on the 
world than we have yet employed, and the Captain of the 
Lord's host summons us to the use of them. Does Zion 
know that she is asleep % or will she say that the imputation 
of .slumber is a calumny % 

The force of the language we are considering goes beyond 
the mere awakening of activity. It calls, not for a partial, 
but for an entire, employment of our resources. " Put on 
thy strength." The meaning cannot be less than this: The 
scenes which are in prospect will require your utmost efforts; 
the victory will be quite as much as you will be able to win ; 
put into requisition, therefore, all your powei"s, and exert 
your whole strength. From what is known of God's ad- 
ministration, it appears that he has always proceeded upon 
the pi-inciple of proportioning the call for exertion to the 
strength which is possessed. Where this is small, works of 
the utmost magnitude are wrought as it wei'e without hands; 
but, if it be more considerable, his methods bring it into full 
employment. On one occasion he said to his ancient people, 
'■'■Stand still, and see the salvation of God;" but on another 
he proclaimed, '■^ Quit you like men; be strong." And it is 


like himself; for, as lie does nothing in vain, so neither does 
he allow any prodigality or wastefulness in his works. When- 
ever he gives strength he means that it should be emi:)loyed. 
We cannot, thei'efore, suppose for a moment that the con- 
version of the world will be brought about by anything less 
than the entii-e energy of the church. None of that which 
is given her is meant for waste, or for purposes of self- 
indulgence, or worldly aggrandizement ; and the keeping 
back of any part of it proportionatel}^ hinders the expected 
victory. Nor is it credible it should be otherwise, when we 
contemplate the magnitude of the end in view. It might 
well have been doubted — by many persons it is actually 
doubted — whether the resources of the church in their 
amplest extent be adequate to the conversion of the world; 
but, if we maintain the affirmative on this point, we surely 
are not disposed to go further, and to imagine that a part of 
those resources is equal to such an achievement. To expect 
it from the whole energy of the church is faith; but it is 
madness to expect it from less. Let us remember, therefore, 
that the realization of the blessed prospects before us is not 
to be anticipated because something is doing, or' because 
some individuals, or some portions of the Chris^tian world, 
are actively employed. Zion must put on her strength ; the 
whole church, and every individual in it, is called upon to 
labour, and to labour to the utmost of his means. Is tliis 
too much ? Would we rather mingle with the mass of 
Christian activity a leaven of self-indulgence and worldli- 
ness % It can be done at no price less than the proportionate 
extinction of our hopes. 

II. We proceed, secondly, to consider the topics by which 
this call may be enforced. 

I. Here it is obvious to notice, in the first place, the 
interesting character of the object to he attained. 

The end contemplated in the text was personally and 
directly interesting to the parties addressed. Zion was called 
to exert herself for lier ovo)l triumphs. 

It was for their own restoration to the land of their 
fathers that the slumbering exiles were summoned to awake. 
We, also, should remember that the trium])hs of Christianity 
are our triumphs, and the increase of the church is our 
enlargement. We are a portion of Zion itself, and our con- 
dition is identified with hers, whether of sorrow or of joy. 


Ai"e we then citizens of a jiatriotic spirit ? Are we identified 
in heart with the welfare of the gi-eat spiritual community to 
which, by profession, we belong? When Zion is in 'ruins do 
we favour the dust thei-eof 1 And can we say with one of 
her ancient sons; " If I forget thee, let my right hand forget 
her cunning; let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, 
if I prefer not Jerusalem to my chief joy"1 Who should 
labour for the prosperity of Zion, if lier own children do 
not 1 And what should arouse us to labour, if it be not the 
prospect of enlai'ging the borders and augmenting the glory 
of the new Jerusalem, which is the mother of us alH Are 
we willing that the church should contmue to be small and 
desj)ised, or do we really A\dsh to see her arrayed in celestial 
beauty, and the joy of the whole earth 1 

The interests of Zion are identified with those of a guilty 
and perishing world. The progress of Christianity is not 
like that of a wasting pestilence, or of a destructive conqueror ; 
it bids the "wilderness rejoice, and bows the subject nations to 
the Prince of Peace. Where the power of the Gospel is not 
felt, there is guilt, and wretchedness, and wrath; every man 
is in rebellion against his Maker, and beneath his awful 
indignation. The spread of the Gospel is a remedy, and the 
only remedy, for these giant evils. There is no other name 
by which we can be saved, except that which it reveals ; there 
are no influences by which the depraved heart of man can be 
made holy, except those which accompany its ministration. 
But the name of Jesus carries salvation to the ends of the 
earth, and those who submit themselves unto him shall live 
for ever. Do we then wish for the extermination of iniquity 
from the earth, and for the rescue of perishing millions from 
hell? Should we rejoice in the drying up of a world's tears, 
and in the diffusion of the richest blessings which almighty 
love can bestow? 

The advancement of Zion is identified with the gloiy of 
her Lord. The kingdom of grace is his kingdom, and his 
honour will arise out of its universal establishment. In his 
church he reigns; and the extension of the church, there- 
fore, is synonymous with the extension of his authority and 
dominion. Which of the children of Zion, then, are devoted 
to theii" King? Which of us are panting to see him enthroned 
in every land, and in every bosom ? Do our hearts biu-n with 
indignant giief to see him despised and rejected of men? Do 


we glow with ardour to achieve some wider victories for him 
who so well deserves to reign 1 Let ns awake, and put on 
our strength; for we have in our hands the sure means of 
accomplishing these glorious and delightful ends. 

2. The call may be enforced, secondly, by the jrroximiti/ of 
the most blessed results. Triumphs, and even our ultimate 
triumphs, are at hand. 

Now, the prospect of success is one of the most natural 
stimulants to exertion. Every man is willing to labour in 
his calling, if he may but see the fruit of his toil. Most 
cheerfully does the husbandman sow, if he may reap; and 
the soldier bear the perils of war, if he may gather the 
laurels of victory. The motive becomes yet more powerful 
in proportion to the amoiint of success which may be antici- 
pated. To what unwonted activity would it give birth, for 
example, if it were said to the husbandman. This year your 
harvest shall be unusually abundant ; or to the merchant. By 
this voyage you shall amass unprecedented wealth; or to the 
soldier, By this battle you shall gain a decisive victory: and, 
if the husbandman exclaims, Now will I sow j)lentifully, for 
I shall reap also plentifully; if the merchant, Now I will 
venture a rich cargo, for I am sure of a large return; if the 
soldier. Now I will fight bravely, for I know I shall conquer; 
how much more we, whose harvest is of immortal joys, whose 
merchandise is the purchase of redeeming blood, and whose 
victories achieve the glories of Immanuel ! If ho^^e were 
absent, the arm of strength might be unnerved; but strange 
is the heart that wakes not at her voice, and enters not with 
vigour and with joy into all the labours which can be pursued 
beneath her smile. 

This consideration is presented to us in a manner pecu- 
liarly forcible. Labour for God has always been encouraged 
by the assiirance of success; but in this respect our situation 
is diflterent from that of Christians in any preceding age. 
They had to look tlu'ough dark periods, of longer or shorter 
duration, before the great and terrible day of the Lord 
should come; but, though it is not given to us precisely to 
know the times and the seasons, we have reason to believe 
that the night is far spent, and the day is at hand. The 
precious promises, illuminated by the lamp of prophecy, seem 
to be approaching the fulness of their time, and hastening to 
the realization of the anticipated blessing, while the move- 


meut which has arisen within the church itself, and the 
hallowed sympathy in the great work which perv^ades almost 
all its departments, encourage and confirm our hope. We 
are expecting now, not merely the success which would have 
attended devoted efforts for God in any circumstances, but 
those larger results which shall lead to the universal diffusion 
of Christianity. It is not now that the ministry of the 
Gosjiel shall take one of a family, and two of a city, but that 
a nation shall be born in a day ; for the glory of the Loi'd is 
about to be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. In 
eveiy age it lias been said, " Be steadfast and unmovable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye 
know that your labour is oiot in vain in the Loi'd:" but the 
voice which we hear is far more animating: "Awake, awake; 
put on thy strength, O Zion!" for the time of thy final 
triumph is at hand. Vigorous and faithful endeavours now 
shall be attended with a large and extraordinary blessing. 
Thei'e has been one Pentecost, but there comes a second, and 
a second of superior glory, amidst the results of which it 
shall be said, " Remember ye not the former things, neither 
let them come into your mind." Dear brethren, is it such a 
call that fails to awaken ns 1 Shall we not now ai-ise, and 
put on our strength '] Can we be slothful while such a 
recompense is attached to our labour? Or is thei'e no bounty 
upon exertion by which Ave can be induced to throw off our 

3. The appeal may be yet further enforced by the necessity 
of exertion in order to the expected results. 

The gloi'ies of the latter day will doubtless be illustrious 
manifestations of divine power, and the manner of their 
introduction will show the honour to be God's. But we are 
too apt to think of them as though they would be achieved 
by a direct and exclusive interposition of the Most High, 
apart from a continued and proportioned employment of 
inferior agency; as though, in a word, the great change were 
to be wrought by some mighty power while men slept, or, at 
least, while we continue to pursue the ordinary courses of 
business or of pleasure ; yet such a sentiment, when we come 
to examine it, is clearly contrary to all God's ordinary methods, 
and to the most decisive indications of his will. Though he 
is the great mover of all good things, yet he acts by instru- 
ments, and not by himself, in all cases where adapted 


iustruments exist. In the Avorlcl of nature, he employs the 
elements of heat and cold, with their kindred powers, to 
accomplish the variations of the changeful year. In the 
world of providence, he makes man the instrument of his 
own discipline, as well as of the reward or punishment of his 
fellow- man. And in the world of grace he can-ies out the 
same principle ; he has never converted a single sinner but 
by the instiiimentality of his truth ; and, whenever this 
blessed Avork has been more eminently enlarged, it has 
ahvays been in connexion with an augmented agency. The 
spi'ead of the Gospel during the apostolic age is an evidence 
of this never to be forgotten, and with it agree all the facts 
which can be gathered from the ecclesiastical history of 
succeeding ages, down to the present time. Why should the 
future differ from the past 1 Or where is the scriptural indi- 
cation that it is to do so 1 There is not the slightest reason 
to think that sinners are ever to be converted to God but by 
the experimental influence of his Word, or to expect any 
enlarged success without a corresponding enlargement of 
heart and of labour. Before they shall all know the Lord, 
that all-important wisdom is to be commvinicated bf/ every 
man to his brother ; before the greatness of the harvest is 
gathered in, multiplied labourers are to enter into the field. 
Whatever had been told him, how unreasonable would it be 
for a husbandman to expect an abuiidant harvest, apart from 
the proportionate culture of the spring; or for a merchant to 
revel in imaginaiy wealth, while he sent forth no goods for 
which return could be made; or for a soldier to exult in 
anticipated victory, without coming to the charge ! Yet no 
less unreasonable are we, when we imagine that a wide ex- 
tension of Christ's kingdom will occur without corresponding 
exertions of ours. Whatever certainty might exist of a large 
harvest, or of a rich merchandise, or of a decisive victoiy, 
you would not scruple to affii-m, in either and in all of these 
cases, that, without activity, it could not, and would not, be 
realized : nor can we hesitate at all to say, that, if the 
strength of the church be not put forth, the world never will 
be converted. We know that God has decreed it, that his 
Word has foretold it, that the promises teem with its glory, 
and that the Saviour waits for his reward ; but, vinless we 
arise and labour, it can never be accomplished. God has 
as truly predetermined the means as the result ; and his 


decree as certainly precludes a deviation from the method, as 
a failure in the end. Although the necessity of human 
mstrumentality does not arise from any weakness on the 
part of the Almighty, but solely from his good pleasure to 
employ it, the necessity of it becomes as absolute on this 
latter gi'ound as it could be on the former. His purposes 
are as immutable as his nature ; and he will no more change 
his plan of operation, than he will abandon its final result. 
Though he has attached to human efforts, therefore, an 
importance which they do not possess in themselves, that 
importance is now as real as though it were intrinsic; and 
the exertions of men are notliing less than essential to the 
extension of Christianity. 

We have not now an opportunity to dwell upon all the 
humbling and elevating tendencies of this sentiment ; we 
notice only its influence as a stimulus to exertion. "Awake," 
says the voice from heaven, "jiut on thy strength, for days 
of triumph are at hand." And those triumphs require your 
strength, they cannot be achieved without your activity. To 
a man who feels the value of the object it is needful to say 
no more ; but, if there be those whom the call fails to arouse, 
who would rather sit still than laboui", who, while they 
imagine they should rejoice in the result, cannot find it in 
their hearts to strive for its production, but quietly wait for 
its arrival while they continue to pureue life's ordinary 
course — to them we say. If you will not sow, you cannot 
reap ; if you will not fight, you can never conquer. Abandon, 
therefore, all the prospects which you say have cheered you; 
and be assui-ed that, wliile sloth continues, the world will be 
a desert. Your snpineness throws to an immeasurable dis- 
tance the period of Zion's joy; and, were there not hope, 
either of arousing you, or of seeing a generation succeed you 
of a different character, it would cover the whole prospect 
with darkness, and ^vl^.te vanity on all the promises of God. 

4. The language of the text may be enforced, finally, by 
i/te actual suspension of the issue upon our obedience. It 
suggests the animating sentiment, that the final glories of 
the church are waiting for her awaking, and for that alone. 
It is as though the voice had said, " AJl things ai*e ready, 
and the hour is come; now, therefore, awake; put on thy 
strength, and the battle is won." 

It is an obvious fact, that, whatever progress the Gospel 


is making, the ultimate triumphs of Christianity are still hi 
abeyance. We see not yet all things put imder his feet, 
•whose right, and whose destiny, it is to reign. Nothing like 
a rapid extension of the Gospel is visible in heathen lands. 
The main bulwarks of supei'stition — the Bi-ahminical, the 
Chinese, and the Mahomedau — though defended only by the 
blind and the lame, hitherto defy the armies of the living 
God. In Christendom the state of things is yet worse. 
The unbroken j^ower of the Papal delusion, the death-like 
formality cherished by Protestant establishments, together 
with the infidelity, and all monstrous and horrible things, 
which revel at large under so extensive and almost impene- 
trable a shelter, are still the grand features of our times. 
Something, indeed, is attempted for the advancement of 
Christ's kingdom, and we bless God that some success has 
crowned the attempt; but that success is by no means great, 
either in proportion to the magnitude of the object contem- 
plated, the expectations entertained, or the effoiis employed. 
It is not yet as it was in ancient days, nor as it is to be 
before the end shall come. With the most heartfelt thank- 
fulness for the tens of thousands who have been rescued from 
destruction, we have to recollect that the millions and the 
hundreds of millions are peiishing, and that the Gospel is 
fitted to become the salvation of them all. Why has it saved 
no more ? Why have the great bulk of those who have 
heard it despised and rejected it? And why are the num- 
bers who submit to its power in our own land of light and 
privilege, even less than among the wretched victims of 
avarice and wrong in Western India, or in the scattered 
islets of the Southern Sc^a 1 Is it that the cup of mercy is 
not yet full, or that the time is not fully come 1 Is it that 
the weapons in employ are of unsuitable temper, or that the 
Captain of our salvation is unmindful of his host? All 
things conspire to instruct us that the final diffusion of 
Christianity is at hand ; and the whole earth heaves with the 
moving principles which are to accomplish the subversion of 
all that opposes Immanuel's dominion : but the triumph 
waits because the church sleeps. We conceive, and we cannot 
hesitate to express cwur conviction, that her slumbers provoke 
the admonition of her Lord: "Awake, awake, Zion; put 
on thy strength!" If we should point to the efforts which 
are making, and the thousands of wealth that ai'e expended 


upon his cause, it might be considered as no answer to his 
appeal. Even here there is matter of humiliation rather 
than of complacency. But bis reply might be, "This is not 
your strength. Seek eveiy man the conversion of his fellow, 
and say every man to his neighbour, Know the Lord. Bring 
to my sei-AT-ce, not only the mechanism of societies, but the 
fervour of the heart. Give me, not only your money, but 
your importunity. Offer on my altar, not only your wealth, 
but your supineness; not only your prayers, but your per- 
sonal exertions. Try me now herewith, saith the Lord, and 
see if I will not pour you out a blessing." 

If this were the principle of his conduct it would be 
perfectly just, for it is only upon sincere devotedness that we 
can expect him to smile. But. consistency is a necessaiy 
evidence of sincerity. And how can devotedness to God be 
deemed consistent, when there is a cherished neglect of some 
of the most obvious and obligatory modes of its exhibition'? 
If the various expressions of missionary zeal were genuine 
fruits of love to the Saviour and his cause, would not the 
same principles produce the equally characteristic fruits of 
pei"sonal endeavour for the same end % Can he be supposed 
to have much pity for a sinner perishing at the distance of 
half the globe, who shows none for one that is in his own 
house 1 It is impossible ; and it is high time that such 
delusions should be banished from among us. Whatever 
there is of missionary contribution or effort, apart from 
personal and actual endeavour to save the sinners around us, 
is but a mockery of God, and an imposition on ourselves. 
Why should oiu- personal indolence blast our associated 
efforts, by attaching to them a character of insincerity, if not 
of hypocrisy, which forbids the Most Holy to pour down his 
blessing ? 

If, indeed, a large measure of success wei'e to crown the 
present system of exertion, it would give to the diffusion of 
Christianity a most perverse and incredible aspect. We 
should see it then, as in part we ah-eady do, extending 
veiy rapidly in Jamaica and Tahiti, while it would be, as it 
really is, comparatively stationary on the continent of Europe, 
and in England, We should see falling before the spiritual 
weapons of our wai-fare the cannibalism of the New Zea- 
lander, the idolatry of the Hindoo, the theism of Boodh, and 
the philosophy of Confucius ; while there would l^e per- 



petuated, in almost xmdiminislied magnitude, the irreligion 
of Christendom, the sonl-destroying formality of its national 
establishments, and the wide- spreading infidelity which now, 
almost immasked, riots in its domain. Would it not be 
unnatural, and even monstrous, that the extension of Chris- 
tianity should have such an aspect as this 1 Are we expect- 
ing that religion shall be thus transported, instead of being 
diffused 'i Is not the leaven to transform the lump by first 
acting on its immediate vicinity, and then extending its 
influence to more distant regions % In truth, these remoter 
conquests are by no means the chief of those which the 
Gospel has to win. Its main battle will not be fought in 
the islands of the Pacific, or on the sands of Africa, or on 
the shores of the Ganges ; but on the fields of Europe, 
perhaps in the privileged sanctuai'ies of Britain. What 
would it be to Christianity if all the savage lands were sub- 
jected to her sway, while the companion demons of scepticism 
and irreligion stalked through the walks of literature, pre- 
sided in the halls of science, and prowled through the whole 
circle of society ; while, in melancholy proof of their 
dominion, the great majority of every rank were revelling 
either in splendid or in vulgar sins ? Is her triumph to be 
reduced to this, that she is to remain stationary, or struggling, 
on the high places of the earth, and to reign only over the 
Negro, the Hottentot, and the Hindoo'? We cannot allow 
ourselves to anticipate such an issue. From the whole earth 
which is to see the salvation of God, surely the European 
and the British lands are to be no exception. It is here, in 
truth, that the grand resources of the church exist ; and for 
their evangelization the day of glory cannot come, until an 
enei'gy proportionate to its immense strength is put forth. 

I am by no means content with the bearing which this 
representation may seem to have upon the societies which, 
with high and consistent excellence, now aim at the cultiva- 
tion of the British waste, and the cleansing of our polluted 
streets. Even these societies are as yet feeble ; but the 
strength of Zion does not lie in societies, but in individuals, 
and in the energy of personal exertion. 

And we have said already that there is no pi-odigality, or 
wastefulness, in the divine administration. He produces 
nothing but for some iiseful end. But, if he were to bring 
on the universal extension of Christianity while the resources 


he has provided for it are not fully employed, it would he a departure from this rule of his conduct. He would 
have generated strength adapted to an invaluable end, with- 
out having given scope, or a summons, to its exercise. We 
ourselves are Zion's strength. If we dedicate not ourselves 
to the work, it is thx'ough supineness and sloth, through self- 
indulgence and worldly love, through indifference or fear ; 
and is this a state of things which we can expect God to 
honour 1 Will he absurdly give the victory to a host which 
gazes idly on the foe, and attach a bounty to a spirit which 
deserves no other name than that of ingratitude and unfaith- 
fulness 1 

We cannot hesitate to express our belief, therefore, that 
the final glories of Zion are waiting till she puts on her 
strength: but we believe, also, that they will wait no longer. 
Let her but throw off" her slumbers, and the dawn of the 
expected day will simultaneously appear. All things are 
ready for her ti'iumph, which waits only for a last and pi'O- 
portionate eff()rt. O i if every person who knows the Lord 
would but throw out his whole energy for the conversion of 
his fellow ; if there should be no- longer left in the tabernacles 
of Zion any example which does not shine, any life which 
does not speak, any influence which is not employed, as well 
as any treasure which is not consecrated, then, verily, would 
the Lord command his blessing, and all the ends of the earth 
should see his glory. From such a state of things he could 
not withhold it. When has he withheld a proportionate 
blessing from devoted zeal ? Was it in the apostolic age, 
when the gods of the nations, and the vices of the world, fell 
before the power of his Gospel '? Was it in the dense dark- 
ness amidst wliicli the light of the Reformation broke on the 
deluded earth, and the spectral superstitions of which it 
drove back with the astounded shades 1 Was it in the 
days of our fathers, when the dauntless voice of sepai'ate 
individuals aroused, like a clap of thunder, the sleeping 
population both of the old world and the new? Or is it 
now, when the heart-felt piety of the ncgi'o spreads like a 
contagion through the mournful bands of the exiled captives; 
or when the islands of the Southern Sea are blossoming likg. 
the garden of the Lord? And will it be then, and onl^ 
then, when, in the end of the world, the awakened churc' 
shall make an effort more comprehensive, more uniform' 


more consistent, more devoted tlian she has ever made 1 It 
is impossible. O Zion ! put on thy strength, and thy 
triumph is won. 

If we are right in considering this passage as the voice of 
the Lord to his church at the present period, it is highly 
important that it should he solemnly regarded, and more 
especially that it should be associated with the pi'csent voice 
of the church to her Lord. There has been manifested of 
late a deeper conviction of the necessity of divine influence 
in order to crown our efforts with sxiccess, and an apparent 
augmentation of the fervour with which an outpouring of 
the Holy Spirit has been supplicated. We have publicly, 
and perhaps, also, privately, addressed the God of Israel in 
the language, "Awake, awake! put on strength, arm of 
the Lord; awake, as in ancient days!" Have we heai'd his 
answer to our supplications] It is this: "Awake, awake; 
put on thy strength, O Zion ! It is well that you have 
acknowledged the necessity of my blessing, now betake 
youi'selves to the fulfilment of yoiir labours. In your own 
hands are the means of accomplishing all that you have 
sought. Go, and say every man to his neighbour. Know the 
Lord, and the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth 
as the waters cover the sea." Have our prayers been 
associated with our endeavours, and has our sincerity been 
verified by our diligence 1 Or have we contented ourselves 
with prayer, without a determined mortification of our 
supineness, and augmentation of our zeal 1 Are we expect- 
ing that prayer alone will be a blessing to the world, and 
comforting ourselves with the thought that we have now 
thrown the burden of its conversion on oiu' Maker 1 Let us 
remember, then, that he flings it back upon ourselves. The 
conversion of the world, says he, as to the whole labour of 
it, is yours, and your means are fully sufficient for its accom- 
plishment. You call upon me to put on my strength ; I 
require you to j)ut on yours. It is not my slumbers that 
hinder the triumphs of the Gospel, but your own. "Awake, 
awake ; pvit on thy strength, O Zion !" He has no otherwise 
to do with the conversion of the world than he has with the 
ripening of the harvest ; in both cases he has to pour out his 
blessing in order to give efficacy to the means employed, nor 
can the harvest of the sj>iritual husbandry be separated from 
the industry which is required in the natural. 


What is the influence, then, of this language upon us 1 
We individually, if we know and love the Lord, are the 
parties addressed in it. For Zion to awake and put on her 
strength, is for every Christian to awake and put on his 
strength, in the cause of his Redeemer. Ait we individually 
disposed to do so 1 Do we mean each of us to do, not 
only something, but all that we can, for the conversion of 
sinners, and of every sinner for whose conversion we can do 
anything at all? With respect to the perishing of distant 
lands, for whose help our j^ecuniary aid is properly and 
earnestly solicited, are we about to make a contribution 
justly proportioned to our wealth, and the inestimable value 
of the object 1- And, w^ith respect to those to whom we may 
have direct and personal access, oiu* chUdi-en and our parents, 
our servants and our labourers, our relatives and our friends, 
our neighbours and our acquaintances — do we mean to do any- 
thing for these? Even if you subscribe to a home missionary 
society, or if you are a visitor in a Christian instruction 
society, the first sphere of action may yet be overlooked — ^it 
is your own house, and your immediate circle. Do you 
mean to do anything there 1 For these, which are the most 
hopeful of all eflbi-ts, we have immense stx^ength, but it has 
not yet been employed. Are we about to employ it, or to 
repeat oiu" excuses, and to perpetuate our neglects 1 Oh ! if 
there were a person who felt disposed for a moment towards 
the latter of these courses, I would say to liim. Is it nothing, 
then, to you, that, by calling you out of darkness into mar- 
vellous light, the God of grace has fitted you to promote so 
blessed an end as the conversion of the world 1 Will the 
husbandman toil for his harvest, the merchant incur hazards 
for wealth, and the soldier risk his life for ^dctory, while 
you will do nothing for a far nobler end 1 Is it nothing to 
you that the diffusion of the Gospel is so linked with human 
instrumentality that it cannot be achieved without it, and 
that your sluggishness and fearfulness prolong the reign of 
iniquity, and multiply the destruction of souls? Would 
you really rather that the progress of the Gospel should be 
liindered, and that men around you should die in theii- sins, 
than be at the trouble of mortifying your carnality, your 
pride, or your self-indulgence ? At all events, if such be the 
real state of your heart, it is high time you should come to 
the knowledge of it. Tell us no more, and do not any more 


deceive yoiu'self by imagining, that yon are identified witli 
the cause of the Saviour, or are anticipating with joy the 
glories of the latter day. The final triumphs of Christianity 
are nothing to you ; at least, they are less dear to you than 
your carnality and your sloth. Thovigh they should never 
come, you would not .strive for the conversion of sinners. 
Yain is it to tell you of the blessedness of Immanuel's 
kingdom, or the greatness of your obligations to him ; your 
heart acknowledges no commanding sympathy with the 
welfare of the world, or the glory of the Saviour. You 
profess his name, but you are a dead weight upon his cause, 
and no loss could it suffer if you were to abandon it. But, 
if yet you cannot abandon it, O become worthy of it ! 
Bring home to your heai't, by sex'ious meditation, the quick- 
ening appeal which is made to you from above. Awake 
from your slumbers, put on your strength ! ! let us not 
be men of such defective character as to be an obstruction to 
our Redeemer's victory, and to make him say, "I must sweep 
these sleepers fi'om the earth, and replace them with more 
devoted followers, ere I can cover it with my glory 1 " 

I take occasion from this subject to address to ungodly 
men one observation. You have often wondered, perhaps, 
why the Gospel, which is by us so highly estimated as an 
instrument of conversion, should make so little impression. 
And we acknowledge to you that the effect of it is far 
less than might be expected from its divine adaptation 
and appointment. But we take the shame to ourselves. 
We have not been faithful to our trust. You know per- 
fectly how I'emiss we have been in endeavouring to fix 
upon your hearts the great convincing and persuasive truths 
of the divine Word ; you have lived with us without 
feeling that we regarded you as enemies to God, or that 
we made any effort to induce you to be reconciled to 
him. Is it wonderful you are still impenitent ] How 
different the case might have been, if our conduct towards 
you had been different ! It shows, not that we are feeble, 
only that we have not put on our strength. But that 
there is a power in God's Word your own consciences 
testify, for you dread to meditate on it. You find it of so 
penetrating and subduing an influence, that you have no 
remedy against it but forgetful ness, and are constrained to 
make inconsideration your perpetual shield. By that means, 


indeed, you may shield yourselves from eveiything. If the 
matters declared in the Scriptures were a thousand times 
more weighty than they are, if they did comprehend wliat we 
have often told you they do, all that is moving in the wrath, 
or melting in the love, of God, you could defy it by thought- 
lessness. It is thus you defy the Gospel now. But to what 
a pinnacle of folly does it elevate you ! and to what a depth 
of ruin will you fall ! There are things in the Bible so 
irresistibly influential, that you cannot think of them atten- 
tively for ten minutes without being touched to yoiu' very 
heart. ; yet you are so afraid of their influence, so determined 
not to yield to it, that you refuse it a place in your remem- 
brance. And these are the things, too, which involve your 
future and eternal condition, which urge you to flee from the 
wrath to come, and set open before you the gate of heaven ! 
O most melancholy infatijation ! And it is you whom we 
have failed to exhort — to persuade ! Forgive us; but perish 
not, though we have been unfaithful. Your souls are 
unutterably precious. Behold, now is the accepted time, 
now is the day of salvation; and yet is our living Intercessor 
able to save to the uttermost. The fountain of his blood is 
open ; and in his name we now beseech you, " Be ye recon- 
ciled to God !'' 


I HAD announced for this evening a sermon to the young, 
and I had been asking myself what shonkl be my subject. 
Behold ! beloved friends, the subject which God has given 
me. One in the prime of life has been cut down in the very 
midst of us. He was quite young enough for his death to 
furnish a theme of instruction to the young, and yet old 
enough for the same event to supply a warning to those of 
more advanced age. 

The passage which I have deemed most suitable for the 
improvement of this solemn and affecting providence, you 
will find in the fii'st epistle to the Corinthians, 7th chapter, 
ver. 29-31. 

"But this I say, brethren, the time is short. It remaineth, 
that both they that have wives be as though they had none ; 
and they that weep as though they wept not ; and they that 
rejoice as though they rejoiced not ; and they that buy as 
though they possessed not ; and they that use this world as 
though they used it not ;t for the fashion of this world 
passe th away." 

It is obvious that the passage throws itself into two 
divisions. Under the former we put those parts of it in 
which the apostle lays down some general facts relating to 
our condition ; into the lattei', the solemu inferences which 
he draws from the ground he has established. 

I. We look first at that division of the text which com- 
prehends the statements of general facts relating to our 
present condition. " This I say, brethren, the time is short 
. . . the fashion of this world passeth away." 

I. We notice, iu the first place, the latter of these afiirma- 

* Preached at Reading, January 30th, 1837, on occasion of the death of 
Mr. Theophilus Williams, 
t For this translation there is the highest authority. 


tions. "The fashion of this world passeth away." Wheu 
we look at the phrase, "the fashion of this world," we do 
not immediately understand it. Sometimes the word here 
rendered "fashion" appears to be pleonastic, or redundant; 
so that, in full liarmony ^vith the language employed, we may 
read — '■Hhe itwld passeth away." This is true. However 
long the world may last, it is but a transitory scene. There 
was a time when it was made, and there shall be a time 
when it will sink out of existence again. 

Look, however, at the passage as it stands — " the fashion 
of this world passeth away." We must not take the word in 
the sense which at first may appear to arise from it. We 
know that the variolas fashions of the world do pass away, 
lasting but for a season, and perhaps not so long. The 
fashion of this year may be the abhorrence of the next. 
But the term here rendered "fashion" has i-eference to the 
entire external condition of the human race. When it is 
said, therefore, that "the fashion of this world passeth 
away," the meaning is that there is no permanency in any- 
thing which relates to the outward condition of man. His 
ordinary ti-ansactions are not to be perpetual ; his joys and 
soiTOws are all temporary. And so are his connexions. 
There are not to be parents and children, hiisbands and 
wives, for ever. These names and relations are brought into 
existence only for a time, even though it may be for a long 
time. There were not such things from eternity, and there 
are not to bo such things to eternity. It is but a portion of 
our existence which is to be bound up in such ties ; to them 
all there is to be a termination. Our thoughts of love, our 
fond aftections, our assiduous cares, our industrious labours, 
our lucrative engagements, our tender griefs — all will have 
an end. They are fast passing away. It is not to be a 
perpetuity of existence chequered by these lights and shades, 
devoted to these occupations, or characterized by these 
relations. We shall at some time be in a place where there 
is nothing to be bought, and nothing to be sold. We shall 
have passed into a world where we shall no more call one 
another husband or wife, parent or child. We shall ulti- 
mately stand in an independent, though still associated, 
existence, looking back upon a state in which perhaps " such 
things were ;" but we shall have found that "the fashion of 
this world passeth away." 

26 "the time is shokt." 

2. The apostle teaches us, in the second place, that "the 
time is short" — the time, that is to say, in which the condi- 
tion of men will be changed. 

" The time is short." This might have been truly said, if 
the apostle had had in contemplation the existence of the 
whole race of man upon the earth. Time is short, very short, 
however many thousands of years it may comprehend. It is 
short in comparison with eternity from which it sprang; that 
vast, unchanging ocean, into which the brief stream of time 
shall pour itself. It is short in comparison even with the 
existence of man ; because, though on eai-th he too appears 
but for a short period, beyond this world he shall exist for 

" The time is short." This is empfiatically true in refer- 
ence to the entire duration of human life. Suppose that we 
sustain all the domestic relations unbroken to the " three- 
score years and ten," or, " by reason of strength," to the 
"fourscore years;" what is this in comparison with eternity? 
Say that we may live as parents or children, as husbands or 
wives, or as active men in worldly affiiirs, for eighty or a 
hundred j^ears ; the life which is to come will count not only 
a hundred years, but more than tens of thousands, more 
than millions of years. It will never end. So that the 
portion in which we sustain these relations, and engage in 
these pursuits, is but a fraction, a mere point in our 
existence. And what a minute point shall we conceive it to 
be, when we shall look back on it from eternity ! When, from 
that region of durable realities, we shall catch a distant view 
of the world we shall have left, into what a moment, and 
less than a moment, will all these affairs, which now expand 
so widely, seem to have been crowded and condensed ! 

"The time is short." This language is still more strikingly 
true in relation to the manner in which the life of man is 
often cut off by .the providence of God. Life is a short tei-m 
if it extends through a centxiry, but it may he much shorter. 
Solemn dispensations thrust themselves vipon us in a manner 
most powerfully adapted to convince lis of this. 

" The time is short." What time 1 The time for buying 
and selling is short. Look at this dear friend. He had just 
entered into business. The cares and activities had recently 
devolved upon him, which his now bereaved father had 
sustained before him. He now says that the time was short 

"the time is SHOltT." 27 

in wliicli they had devolved upon him ; but how much 
shorter was that during which they devolved upon his son ! 
His aj)plication to business has soon terminated. Newly 
ordered goods had just arrived, many of them were yet 
unpacked ; and in that veiy day his thoughts perished. 

"The time is short." What time? The time for love 
and mutual fondness, the time for clasping wives to our 
bosom, the time for binding ourselves with the strongest ties 
that mortality knows. Bis time was very short. He had 
been a husband but sixteen months. The tender tie was 
quickly snapped asunder. His bridal bed was soon converted 
into tlie bed of death. 

" The time is short." What time? The time for fondling 
dear babes on our knees ; for looking in their sweet counte- 
nances, to see reflected in them their parents' image ; for 
thinking of their succeeding to their parents' cai'es, and 
ujjholding their parents' steps. Our time is short for these 
fond anticipations. His babe is just six months old, and he 
has taken his last look at him. He had thought, pei'adven- 
ture, to hear him say, Papa; but he will never listen to that 
thrilling sound. He had thought, peradventure, to lend 
kind assistance to the mother in her arduous charge ; but 
she must pui-sue her course alone. 

'• The time is short." What time ? The time for a young 
man to glory in his .strength, to cultivate his under.standing, 
to put forth his energies. The age of twenty-eight yeai-s l« 
written on his coffin ; an age at which it might have been 
thought that the dangers of youth had been past,_and that, a 
settled \-igour having been reached, he was in little peril till 
those of age overtook him. But not so. Thei'e was a worm 
at the root of that gourd, which Avithered it even before the 
sun waxed hot on his head. How short his time was ! And 
so is ours. A few days, and all that we enjoy here, save 
religion, will be brought to a close. And no one knows 
what shall be o/i the morroiu. 

II. Such are the genei-al facts relating to our condition 
which the apostle affirms. " The time is short — the fashion 
of this woi'ld passeth away." We proceed to consider the 
important infei-ences which he draws from the ground thus 
established. " It remain eth, therefore, that both they that 
have Avives be as though they had none ; and they that weep 
as though they wept not ; and they that rejoice as though 

28 "the time is short." 

they rejoiced not ; and they that bay as though they 
possessed not ; and they that use the world as though they 
used it not." 

I. In this hxnguage we regard the apostle as inculcating, 
first, the indispeiisable wisdom of renouncing the world as 
our portion. Where can the wisdom be of loving the world 
30 well as to make it our portion ? Is it wise to rest in its 
passions and pursuits ? " The fashion of it passeth away," 
and that very soon. Say that you are a man of business — 
say that yoxi are a young man of business, that you have 
recently entered on its conceras, have laid your plans, 
prepared your premises, expended your capital, and formed 
your connexions ; — you are now making a jjortion of your 
business. What portion of your existence is it to occupy? 
What if you could carry it on for fourscore years 1 These 
are but a few, in comparison with those you are to spend 
beyond the gi-ave. But what a fraction of these few may be 
so employed ! Really, the devotedness of some men to their 
shops is such as though they thought they wei-e to be trades- 
men for ever. Strange infatuation ! Suppose Theophilus 
Williams had been such a tradesman ! Or suppose that with 
such a habit as yours he had been laid in the grave ! 

Say that you have recently formed family connexions ; 
that you have clasped to your arms the object of your love, 
and bound her to yourself by what you may deem a per- 
petual tie; say that a sweet babe has crowned your union, 
that he smiles in yoiu- face, and, while he returns your blan- 
dishments, fills your heart with unutterable anticipations ; — 
are you going to make a portion of your wife and your child, 
and to let your heart sink down satisfied in that love ? How 
large a period of your existence, then, can be devoted to 
these affections 1 .Do you not know that the very names of 
husband and wife, parent and child, are but for a moment 1 
All the joys they represent are but as a vapour, that appear- 
eth for a very little while, and then vanisheth away. Will 
you make a portion of them, and be destitute for eternity? 
Suppose he whom we mourn had been such a parent, and 
had left his all behind, would his end have been so peaceful? 

In whatever respect any of you are making a portion of 
the world, or are disposed to do so, and whether young or 
old, take this warning. " The fashion of this world passeth 
away," and in a space of time which is very "short." "Love 

"the time is short." 29 

not the "world," therefore, "neither the things that are in the 
world." Your existence is to be long, very long, and immea- 
siu"ably the longer portion of it is to be spent in a far distant 
region. There you are to live for ever. It is eternity that 
should be pro\aded for, not time. And, if there be any 
wisdom in the pains which is univei'sally taken to make pi*o- 
vision for time, how powerfully does it rebuke the almost 
universal neglect of eternity ! Dear hearers, have you made 
provision for eternity? Or, if you have not, will you do it 
to-day 1 

Some of you in that group of mourners are in circum- 
stances similar to those of your departed relative; bound by 
similar family ties, and similarly situated in business. I 
should be glad to know — in the pi'esence of this congi-ega- 
tion, I press it upon you to inquire — whether you are 
renouncing the world as your portion. Are you, dear 
friends, giving your hearts to the Lord? Are you yielding 
yourselves to the salutary influence of this event? Agitated 
I know you are. You do not lose a brother without feeling 
it. But unsanctified nature can feel, and feel deeply. Have 
you holy feeling? Does the influence of this event go 
through your very soul? Are you made to say, "I no 
longer look upon things earthly as my portion. I will no 
longer be a man of the woi"ld. What will it be to me here- 
after? " Or are you trying to get through this distressing 
period without relinquishing your hold of the world; know- 
ing at the same time, that it must soon be taken from your 
grasp, and that this warning will return on you with tenfold 
agony, if it is despised? 

But, if there is nothing in this woi'ld that is worthy of 
our affections, where shall we dejDosit them? What shall we 
love? What possession is there for immortality? To this 
all-important question the Scriptures furnish us with an 
explicit answer. " Set your affections on things above, not 
on things on the earth" (Col. iii. 2). Say, "The Lord is 
MY PORTiox." What an inestimable privilege to call him so ! 
There is no satisfaction for the soul, no provision for eternity, 
but in this. O cleave to God as yoiu* supi'eme and everlast- 
ing good ! What amplitude, what fii-mness, what durability, 
shall charactei'ize Him as the portion of your soul! He is 
worth living for. Him we can enjoy for ever. He shall 
remaia when the earth is consumed, and although the entire 
universe should sink into nothina;. 


You ask me, then, how sliall a poor polhited creature 
venture to set his heart on Godt Is he permitted to do so? 
Is not God angry with sinners'? Yes; but he is also recon- 
ciling them to himself by Jesus Christ his Son. The foun- 
tain is opened for sin and for uncleanness, and the precious 
blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin. The accepted Advo- 
cate is before the throne, ever li^dng to make intercession 
for us. Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin 
of the world, and who is able to save unto the uttermost all 
them that come unto God by him. Come, disappointed ones, 
whom the world has never satisfied, and never will satisfy — 
come, you who are awakened from the slumber of earthly 
affection bjs the startling event which now appeals to you — 
come all, and centre your aflections upon God. For thus 
saith our Redeemer, " I am the way, and the truth, and the 
life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me; and him 
that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out " (John xiv. 
6; vi. 37). Which of you will not avail yourselves of the 
oppoi-tunity of saying — 

Now I forbid my carnal hope, 

My fond desires recall ; 
I give my mortal intei'est up, 

And make my God my all. 

2. As the apostle thus leads us to reject the world as our 
portion, so he challenges us to live with hearts deadened to 
its influence. " It remaineth that both they tliat have 
wives be as though they had none; and they that weep as 
though they wept not; and they that rejoice as though they 
rejoiced not ; and they tliat buy as though they possessed 
not; and they that use this world as though they used it 

It is not to be supposed, in any measure, that the apostle 
is enjoining hardness of heart. It could not be his wish to 
steel the affections of the husband against the wife, or those 
of the wife against the husband ; or in any respect to induce 
an entire disregard for objects of earthly love. These are 
God's gifts, and nothing does more than religion to awaken, 
and augment, the sensibilities of our nature to them. What 
is enjoined is a due and supreme regard for things which are 
heavenly and divine. He means that, seeing "the fashion 
of this world passeth away," and " the time " of remaining 
in it " is short," we should be very J€^lous lest our affections 

"the time is short." 31 

cleave to it ; and that we should, by keeping eternity in 
view, retain in due subordination the things of time. The 
infinite vastness of eternity demands that, whatever we have 
on earth, we should be as though we possessed it not; that, 
whatever we love on earth, we should be as thour/hwe loved 
it not. 

Let us hear the wai'ning. Christians! the world, I hope 
and believe, is not your })ortion; but yet may a searching 
inquiry — perhaps in some of us this searching providence — 
detect more earthly love than we can justify. Why should 
we love creature comforts so fondly I " The fashion " of 
these things " passeth away." 

Young wives, look upon your husbands as taught by this 
aflfecting stroke how soon they may pass away; and learn to 
love them now, just as you would wish to have loved them 
should you speedily see them on" their death-bed. Cherish 
Just such afiection, and so much, as you can sustain when 
the sti'oke of death comes — no more. 

Men of business! Christians in the world! Live above 
the world. Remember that "those who buy" should be 
"as though they possessed not." Take care that the con- 
cerns of business have not too strong a hold on your regard. 
Think how he said (who is gone) on his dying bed, " What 
are all these things to mel " Conceive yourselves always to 
be dying men; and every day give just so much attention to 
business, as you would if you knew that that day you should 

Weeping, suffering, Chi-istians ! The shortness of "the 
time " should stay your tears. Seeing that " the fashion of 
this world passeth away," "they that weep" should be "as 
though they wept not." It is a Jiard lesson. Whatever 
else may be vain, there are times when grief and teai's seem 
to be realities. But "the time is short," very short; and 
weeping time is short. It is " but for a moment." Let iis 
not, therefore, dw^ell upon our griefs, which, by being dwelt 
upon, quickly run to excess. Let us think rather how long 
the time will be, and how soon it will arrive, in which we 
shall shed no tears. ! when we realize this, can we not 
stay a few^ of the many tears which flow so freely now; and, 
weeping, be " as though " we wept not I Let the shortness 
of the time for sorrow raise us above the sorrows which we 
bear. And let the worldlings see, that, though we grieve 

32 "the time is short." 

with tliem, we grieve not like tliem; but that in the midst 
of tears we can smile,' — we. whose suffeiings are but for a 
moment, whose bliss shall be for eternity. 

What a happiness it is to be able to say that the truths 
which the death of our lamented friend thus powerfully 
teaches animated and governed his life ! And they did so. 
His religious experience commenced about seven years ago; 
when he would have become a member of the church in this 
place, had he not imbibed the sentiment that baptism and 
the Lord's supper were not designed as permanent ordinances 
— a sentiment in holding which I give him credit for entire 
sincerity. He grew in piety, however, till his death. His 
piety manifested itself by a spiiit of Christian co-operation. 
He was always ready to do what he could for objects of 
public usefulness. At one period he kindly took charge of 
the library connected with' this congregation. Subsequently 
he became a visitor in the Christian Instruction Society. In 
this department he laboured with much fidelity and prompt- 
ness. Perhaps there may be some present this evening whom 
he has visited. If I am speaking to any such persons, what 
shall I say to you 1 Was he faithful to you ? If you perish, 
will the blood of your souls be on his head 1- Did he point 
out yovxr sinfulness and ruin, and direct you to the Lamb of 
God? I believe — I know — he did. You know, and God 
knows, that he is clear of your blood. O be also clear of your 
own ! Were it not better to take the counsels he gave, and 
to pursue the same path to bliss 1 Will it not lead to a 
happier meeting if you treat him as your guide to Jesus, 
than if you constrain him to be a witness to the aggravation 
of your guilt 1 

He also became, at mj" request, joint secretary with me to 
the Auxiliary Baptist Missionary Society established among 
us. In this respect he was a right arm to me. He was to 
me almost as a brother. Is there another among you as 
willing to render the assistance he may no longer supply? 

His engagements in busuiess had latterly been enlarged, 
but, though his activity was great, he did not forsake the 
Lord. Often did he pray with his wife in secret. He also 
maintained family prayer, a service in which latterly liis 
exercises had plainly indicated much fei"vour of heart. And 
on several occasions I have had pleasure in observing the 
powerful steadiness of his piety. 

"the time is short." 33 

He had recovered from the influenza nearly to his general 
state of health, when he was seized with an attack of pleurisy 
of great Adolence. This day fortnight, when I preached on 
the duties and consolations of a time of general sickness, he 
was in the house of God. The same night he was taken ill; 
and, although he rose for a short space on Monday, he soon 
took again to his bed, which he never afterwards left. After 
most assiduous attention, and most strenuous efibrts to save 
his life, the physician intimated on Sunday morning that he 
was obliged to abandon all hope. This was heavy tidings for 
a trembling father to carry to the chamber of sickness, and 
no wonder that the tears fell fast do^vn liis furrowed cheeks 
ere he could announce them. "Don't cry, father," said 
Tiieophilus; "I shall be better soon" — the giving way of 
nature under the power of disease having at that time been 
mistaken by him for symptoms of amendment, and for a 
moment dispelled the anticipation of death with which, 
almost from the first he had been occupied: "I shall be 
better soon." " My son, you will soon be in heaven." The 
effect of this announcement was startling, but it Avas far from 
being painful. Looking up, he said, "Is it so? Then that 
is glad tidings." And an unbroken brightness cheered his 
heart from this moment until he expired. 

Between the services last Lord's day I saw him. When I 
went into the room, in the presence of many members of the 
fomily, he held out his hand to me, and said, "My dear 
pastor, little did I think, when hearing you preach so often, 
I should go before you." Taking his hand, I said, "I hope 
God is your strength." "Yes, he is," replied this dear, dying, 
friend; "and he will be my portion for ever." I then said, 
" Well, Theophilus, it is pleasant to think that we have done 
something for Christ together. You have helped me in 
various ways in his service; and that is not painful to think 
of on a deathbed, and it may be remembered with gratitude 
in heaven." "Mention it not," he replied; "if I am not 
washed in the blood of Christ, and clothed in his righteous- 
ness, there is no hope for me." Then, as if recalling himself, 
he added, "Yet I hope I have loved him : but it has been so 
little, so very little." "Can you give up your wife and 
child?" I inquired. ^Yes," he said: "God will be with 
them— God will be with them." Subsequently he called for 
his babe. The unconscious infant was in touching contrast 


34 "the time is short. 

witli the sad scene, as he offered over him a prayer, expres- 
sive of all that a dying father could desire. 

Nothing was more remarkable in the state of his mind, 
than his uniform gladness in the prospect of death. In the 
interview which I had with him, he said, " T did not think 
God was preparing me for heaven so soon, when he enlarged 
my heart in prayer. But he has of late smiled on me so 
sweetly — so very sweetly!" He took notice of all that was 
pleasing around him as affoi'ding illustrations of a better 
world; so, when the beams of the sun entered his chamber, 
he said " it reminded him of that brighter sun he should so 
soon behold." On Monday, when he was rapidly sinking, 
his soul seenjed absolutely on the wing with joyousness. 
Speaking of a relative skilled in music, he said, " Send for 
him, that he may sing to me the ' Dying Chi-istian,' " the 
fervent language of which was scarcely fervent enough for 
his panting spirit. His feeble frame seemed too full with 
joy, as he was thus preparing to touch the heavenly harp 
with notes of grateful and endearing love. 

Altogether there have been, perhaps, but few characters of 
greater loveliness in life, or of greater dignity in death. His 
dying hour I will not call less than a noble specimen, both 
of nature, and of grace. What grave and solemn utterance 
he gave to counsels of wisdom and love; and what universal 
concern he evinced for the living, while he so easily shook off 
all that could bind him to earth, there were many indica- 
tions. He sent a message to the men who worked for him, 
concerning their salvation. Some of them, perhaps, are 
hearing me. I ask you, was not his dying warning consistent 
with his life 1 You saAV his example ; you heard his counsel. 
Are you going to act upon it 1 

The anxiety he felt for the spiritual welfare of his relatives 
was intense. Is not this engraven on your heai-ts, dear 
friends'? Ye mourners! hear his words — (I shall never 
forget them) — " Do love Jesus Christ. Be a decided Chris- 
tian. Associate with none but true Christians." The relative 
to whom, in the presence of the weeping family, these touch- 
ing counsels were addressed, sobbed as he heard them. O ! 
we will pray that the effect may be much deeper and more 
lasting than these sobs. Remember^ all of you, that this 
scene of sorrow should not pass away without profit. God 
has sent it for your good. He has struck one who was ready 

"the time is short. 35 

to die, peradventure in compassion to those of you who are 
unprepared. Recompense his kindness. Do not depart 
from tliis place of tears without a surrender of yourselves to 
his sei'vice. If you have been separated in life, secure a 
happy reunion in heaven. ' Oh ! what agony if the entreaties 
of his dying moments should be neglected; if, in the great 
assembling day, any whom he loved should be lost ! I would 
take each of you by the hand (all of you are as brothers and 
as sisters to me), and say, " Shall it be youl" Each of you 
recoils with horror from such an anticipation. You say. 
No, no, no ! Then make certain of it now. Renounce pro- 
crastination. iVbw, while you have the opportunity, be at 
once decided for God ! 

O happy family ! in which all who have yet died are gone 
to heaven ! Still more happy, if all who yet live shall be 
uiiited with them there ! 


"And the Word was made flesh." — John i. 14. 

There is no doubt of the meaning of the term ^Hhe Word" 
in this place; the use of it in the earlier verses of this chap- 
ter establishes its application beyond question. " In the 
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and 
the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with 
God; all things were made by him, and without him was 
not anything made that was made; in him was life, and the 
life was the light of men" (John i. 1-4). It is a Being, 
therefore, who is here spoken of under the emblematic term, 
"the Woi'd;" the same Being, undoubtedly, who, in the 
language of sacred Scripture, is known as the Son of God, 
the second person of the divine and ever-blessed Trinity. 

njNow we ai'e here told that "the Word was made flesh:" 
what ai'e we to understand by this? Flesh is the literal, and 
the correct, rendering of the term which is here employed in 
the original; but it is a term which is not always to be 
understood in its literal meaning. Thus, for example, the 
prophet tells us, "AH flesh is grass, and all the goodliness 
thereof as the flower of the field" (Isa. xl. 6). And again, 
" The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall 
see it together" (Isa. xl. 5). Inasmuch, then, as one of the 
elements of which the human body is composed is flesh, so 
by the term Jlesh human beings come to be very properly 
defined. And when we are told that " the Word was made 
flesh," the idea which we take from it is that he was made a 
human being — a man. 

But still we have to ask the question. In what sense do we 
understand this declaration 1 

* Preached at Bishopsgate Chapel, London, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 
9th, 1838. 


There have been people who understood that, though the 
"Word assumed the form and the appearance of a man, he 
really did not assume substantial human nature, and that 
the foi*m and appearance of a man was only visionary; he 
seemed to be a man, but he was the phantom of a man. 
Now this is not the doctrine which we hold, or the doc- 
trine we would propound to you this evening. Neither, 
on the other hand, do we hold any transmutation of the 
divine nature into the human. When it is said " the Word 
was made flesh," or made a human being, we do not under- 
stand by it that any change took place in the nature of 
Deity, so as to convert it into the nature of humanity. 
There would seem to be something altogether impossible, as 
thei-e is certainly something totally unwarrantable, in such a 
notion. But, when we say, or when we read, that " the 
Word was made flesh," or became a human being, we under- 
stand by it this; that the Word, or Son of God, took the 
nature of a human being into a personal union with himself, 
and so united the body and soul, which together constitute a 
man, with the essentially divine nature, which constituted 
himself as the Word, or Son of God, that these two in their 
combination should, and did, constitute one person. "The 
Word was made flesh," or became a human being. 

Collateral eA-idence of this fact is not wanting in Holy 
Writ. The evangelical histories prove that our Lord Jesus 
Christ was a man. We find there an account of his birth, of 
his childliood, of his growth to manhood, of his eating and 
drinking, of his passing through many and various scenes of 
labour, and ultimately of his death; so that our Lord Jesus 
Christ was a man. But was he more than man? was God 
incarnate in his person? We know that he wrought very 
marvellous works of divine beneficence and power. We 
know that he did and said things which would lead people 
to understand that he meant he was God. We know that 
once, when he was challenged by the high-priest to say 
whether he was the Son of the ever-blessed God, he affirmed 
that he was, for which he was denounced as guilty of blas- 
phemy, and worthy of death. 

But were these divine attributes, after all, ascribed to him 
in a modified way, or as strict i-ealities 1 Was he only a sort 
of Deity — a Deity by courtesy % Had he a kind of deified 
humanity, or was he really and truly God % 


Now, in tracing tlie history of Jesv;s back to the time 
of his birth, we find that it was attended by many extraordi- 
nary circumstances, and that it was not like the birth of 
human beings in general. His nativity was thus announced 
by the angel to the person who was to become his mother : 
the angel said to her, "Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found 
favour with God. And, behold, thoii shalt conceive in thy 
womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call his name Jesus. 
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : 
and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his 
father David : and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for 
ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke i. 
30-33). And, to give some further explanation of this 
mysterious announcement (for it was made to a virgin), 
" The augel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost 
shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall 
overshadow thee; therefore, also, that holy thing which shall 
be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke i. 35). 
And it is stated to us, also, in the history of this same trans- 
action as presented to us by Matthew, that "when as his 
mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came 
together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost" 
(Matt. i. 18). So that it seems that the human natui-e of 
our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was produced, not only 
in a way singular and peculiar, and distinguished from the 
human nature of eveiy other individual of the whole human 
race, but, also, in a way especially adapted to its being con- 
joined with the divine nature from the very origin of its 

We have a passage in prophecy to this effect, in the 
seventh chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah, and the four- 
teenth vei-se : " Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a 
sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and 
shall call his name Immanuel" (Isa. vii. 14) : the precise 
applicability — the direct applicability — of which to the sub- 
ject before us is fully established by the observation of 
Bishop Lowth: "They shall call his name Immanuel," says 
he, "which is, being interpreted, or translated, God with us: 
El being in the Hebrew tongue the term for God, and 
Immamt, the pronoun, or prefix, which has the meaning of 
* God vnth us.' " So that here, in the name of Jesus thus 
formed, is a distinct declaration of two natures subsisting in 


his one pei-son; "God with us," God in human flesh. And in 
the sixth verse of the ninth chapter we have a passage 
i-eferriug to the same subject, and to the same effect: "For 
unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the 
government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall 
be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the ever- 
lasting Father, the Prince of Peace" (Isa. vL 9). Matthew 
makes a reference to the former of these prophecies : " Now 
all this was done," says that evangelist — referring to the 
birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ — " Now all this 
was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the 
Lord by the prophet, saying. Behold, a virgin shall be with 
child, and shall bring fox'th a son, and they shall call lus 
name Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is, God with vis" 
(Matt. i. 22, 23). The evidence of the Holy Scriptures Ls 
very distinct, direct, and incontestable, therefore, as to the 
fact that, in the one person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, two natures existed in pei-sonal combination, the 
human and the divine. 

And with this fact harmonize those appellations, both hu- 
man and divine, by which our Lord Jesus Christ is indiscrimi- 
nately named. He Ls called in the first pi'omise " the seed 
of the woman" (Gen. iii. 15), that is, a man; and he is dis- 
tinctly ill the Old Testament called Jehovah (Psalm ii. 11; 
Isaiah xl. 3) — a name not at all applicable by any possibility, 
except he were God. One of the ajiostles calls him "the man 
Christ Jesus" ( i Tim. ii. 5) ; another says, "He is the true God, 
and eternal life" (i John v. 20). This indiscriminate use of 
names, both divine and human, would be altogether a matter 
of impropriety and absurdity, if it were not that the two 
natures, divine as well as human, were combined in the 
person of our Lord Jesus Christ. And, if the two natures 
be combined in his person, you may with justice call him by 
any name, either human or divine; just in the same way as, 
the mortal and the immortal part being combined in a man, 
you may address him by either — as mortal or immortal ; you 
may say mortcd man, or you may say immortal man; there 
is no sort of contradiction, both are equally true; for, in 
relation to the bodies of men they are mortal, they are im- 
mortal in relation to the soul. So, in addressing the Lord 
Jesus Christ, you may call liim man, and it is true; you 
may call him (rod, and it is true; for the two natures are 


both essentially combined in the one person of our adorable 

I know not whether it may be expected that I should 
attempt to enter into any physical, or metaphysical, expla- 
nation, in relation to the mysterious person of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, so composed of two natures, the human and the 
divine. On this subject I say at once I am not prepared to 
enter, or to attempt any such explanation. I do not know 
anything about the matter; and, however interesting to the 
inquisitive and curious mind a question of this sort may be, 
I cannot conceive that any one can be called upon to give 
an explanation upon this jioint in order to establish the 
truth of the doctrine itself. If the doctrine were one of oiu- 
own invention, then this question might be asked concerning 
it, and we might be expected to furnish fui-ther information; 
but to make any pretension to discovery by any manner of 
reasoning or speculation, whether physical or metaphysical, 
would be absvird in the extreme. It is a doctrine of pure 
revelation; and it is only because it is revealed in this book 
that we can know, or believe, anything about it. God himself 
has told us so, and we believe it to be so. And, if there be 
any party who seems inclined to attack this truth, it must 
not be by singling out this doctrine of revelation for the 
assault, but it must be by attacking the whole book, and 
the authority of the book, which contains it. This indi- 
vidual truth does not stand by itself; it stands with a host 
of other truths as in a fortified and embattled castle, and no 
man can assail this truth till he climbs ujDon the heights, 
and scales the battlements which protect it. This is a matter 
of revealed truth alone; and we may well challenge any 
persons to make an assault iipon it, or on the authority of 
the Word of God. 

That we have before us a mysterious truth we acknow- 
ledge; but, if any man is disposed to reject it because it is 
mysterious, we ask him if he means to reject one truth only 
because it is mysterious, and not another. We certainly 
deny his reasonable right to do this; if anything is to be 
rejected on account of its mysteriousness, all things that are 
mysterious must be rejected together. Mystery is not to be 
made an objection to one truth, while it is made no objec- 
tion to another to which it equally attaches. If we reject 
any matter because it is mysterious, we ought to reject all 


others wMch are mysterious; and, if any man sees well to 
reject all truths that are mysterious, he will undertake a 
large business. His own existence is in itself a mystery, 
the existence of God is a mystery, the existence of anything 
at all is a mysteiy; and he that will believe nothing that is 
mysterious really must believe nothing at all; And then he 
will encounter new mysteries, perhaps still greater mysteries, 
and, perhaps, as great a mystery as any is that he refuses to 
believe, in that he himself, being in the midst of plain and 
incontestable facts, will not believe that any of those facts 

But, leaving the argument concerning this matter, we 
come, in the next place, to take a brief view of the beautiful 
and glorious aspect of the truth, or fact, thus set before us. 
"The Word was made flesh:" that is, in the person of our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ there was a combination of 
two natures, the human and the divine. 

I. Now let us regard this, in the first place, as presenting 
a beautiful, and an amazing, exemplification 0/ the creative 
toisdom and jwioer of God. There is something very wonder- 
ful in all God's works. The sky, the sea, the eaz-th, the 
flowers, the animals— all are wonderful. There is not any 
one which can be selected in order to be inspected and 
analyzed, without presenting marvellous views of the glory 
of God. And more wonderful than anything else beside on 
the earth is the nature and the structure of man. We not 
only have, as is the case with animals, a body and a spirit 
— (for so we must conceive of animals, I suppose; the spirit 
of the animal being united in some strange way to the 
body, receiving sensation by the body, and exex-ting its own 
powers by the instrumentality of the body)— but in our- 
selves we have a rational soul, capable of moral knowledge, 
of holy and pure affections, and of exercising thoughts 
and feelings on things exalted and sublime; the soul con- 
nected with the body, receiving all its sensations through 
the body, thinking by the help of the brain, acting by the 
msti-umentality of the arm, having the body as a little 
and compact box of machineiy— of wonderful and delicate 
machmery— for the exercise of its powers, and the per- 
formance of its will. But now look at the person of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. His divine nature, of course, is not 
created; but it was an exercLse of creating power and 


wisdom, to construct the entire person of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, so as to bring the human nature into combination with 
the divine — so that the divine nature shoukl receive sensa- 
tions through the eye, the touch, and the ear — so that the 
divine nature should perform its functions of thinking by the 
brain, of seeing by the eye, of communicating its thoughts 
by the tongue, and of acting by the hand. Such a combina- 
tion as this was necessaiy in order that God should act by 
this human nature, and this material machinery. And of 
all the marvellous things, of all the incredible things (if 
they were not true), which divine wisdom and power have 
done, this of them all is the most marvellous. Dr. Watts 
has, indeed, well said upon this subject — 

' ' God, in tlie person of his Son, 
Hath all his mightiest works outdone." 

Between the body and the soul of man there is a sort of 
proportion; the soul and the body have a marvellous adap- 
tation the one to the other, although in essential nature they 
are distinct. But, as respects the human nature and the 
divine, they are in no manner proportioned. We might 
have thought that there could be no kind of machinery by 
which the divine nature could be brought thus to act, and 
that, if any at all were employed, it must have been a vast, 
and almost infinite, machinery; for the divine nature itself 
is infinite, and how could it be compressed into the small 
comj)ass of a human body, or so reduced as possibly to act 
by this little, frail machinery, when, perhaps, the very 
contact of the divine nature with this machinery might 
consume it, or the vast and overwhelming attributes of the 
divine nature acting upon this machinery have at once 
crushed and broken it? But it was not so; for the godhead 
existed, and acted, even in the babe. Deity was there in all 
the feebleness of childhood, and infancy was not too frail, or 
too feeble, to admit of conjunction with infinity, and the 
majesty of godhead. 

II. If, in the first place, here is presented to our view an 
amazing instance of creative wisdom and power, there is also, 
in the next place, presented a no less amazing view of the 
divine condescension. How could the Son of God ever har- 
monize his feelings with the prospect of taking into direct 
and personal union with himself the nature of man, and of 


becoming a man? How conld the Creator ever think of 
condescending to become a creature at all, even if the 
nature in whicli he became a creature was one of the most 
exalted and divine? There was an infinite distinction, as 
there must always have been an infinite space, or chasm, 
between the Creator and the creature. But ho"w could the 
Son of God ever think of becoming a man, and of taking 
upon himself the nature of sinners, and not that of the 
more exalted and glorious of created natures'? We might 
imagine him saying, — What ! shall I whose glance compre- 
hends the universe, shall I see through an eye of clay ? shall 
I hear through the medium of an ear? and my A^ast and 
eternal thoughts, shall they be exercised by the activity of a 
material brain? and my almighty power, shall it have its 
residence in a feeble arm, and be exercised by it ? and my 
vast and boundless emotions, shall they be identified with 
the throbs of a human heart? and I, the ever-blessed, shall I 
enter into a nature in which I shall become liable to hunger, 
thirst, and weariness? shall I lay me down to sleep? shall I 
become liable to sorrow and to death — the Eternal become 
limited in time — the Infinite limited in space — the Author 
of life subjected to die? shall I, the Lawgiver, become a 
subject; and take upon me, not the form of a ruler, but 
that of a servant, and learn, not to command, but to obey? 
Great prospects indeed for the Son of God ! Immeasurable 
humiliation for Him! But he did it. He divested himself 
of his glory for us, and was not ashamed. He did not reftise 
to take tipon liimself the form of a servant, that he might 
become obedient, even " obedient unto death." 

III. Again, what a marvellous manifestation of godhead 
was there made in the person of our Loi'd Jesus Christ, 
when he was upon earth. The apostle speaks of him in this 
striking expression — "God manifest in the flesh;" and our 
Lord's forerunner said, "No man hath seen God at any 
time; the only -begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the 
Father, he hath declared him," or made him manifest. It is 
one characteristic of the di\dne Being that he is invisible, 
and that he is not appreciable by the human eye, save when 
he is pleased to take some form for that purpose ; since it is 
only foi'm which the mortal eye can discern. And so, God 
being invisible, and being concealed and retired, all our 
notions of him are necessarily vague, obscure, and difficult. 


But, in the person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus ClirLst, we 
have " God manifested " — God to be seen, God to be heard, 
God to be felt and handled. The character and attributes of 
God — all the different virtues of love and purity, faithfulness 
and truth — the glorious attributes of wisdom and power — 
all these things appear in the Lord Jesus Christ, reduced into 
a form, not abstract, but concrete. They are visible in action, 
and may be gazed on, and conversed with; God is "manifest 
in the flesh." As for God, he is everywhere; there is not 
throughout the whole universe a place where God is not; 
but in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ we might almost 
say that God was concentrated — with his glorious attributes 
brought before the view, made substantial, and presented to 
man in a way truly marvellous. What an honour was it 
for this world that God should thus manifest himself in the 
flesh ! What an honour was it for the land of Judea, and 
the palaces of Jerusalem, thus to be selected as the spot in 
which this manifestation was made ! And what a singular 
elevation this guilty world, probably, has thus received, amid 
all the other innumei-able worlds contained in the universe, 
if they know that here God thus personal, and thus mani- 
fest, has been pleased to make his appearance among his 
creatures ! 

IV. But, further, we see, in this truth, a sjyecial adapta- 
tion in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the work of 
redemption ivhich he has undertaken. It was needful, in 
order to his being a Saviour for man, that he should become 
man, and his becoming man confers on him a most blessed 
adaptation to this end. It was thus needful in order that he 
might acquire a right to redeem. Angels, or beings foreign 
to our nature, might have stood and contemplated our ruin, 
and have wished to interfere; but the question must always 
have been asked of them, — "What is it to you? You have 
no such relation to them as qualifies you for interfering." 
Among the Jews it was provided that, in certain cases, a 
near kinsman might interfere. And thus, iij relation to the 
salvation effected by our Lord Jesus Christ, it was needful 
that he should assume our nature in order that he might be 
akin to us, and that, as a party related to us, he might 
have an interest in standing on our behalf, in taking up our 
cause, and in doing that which was necessary to be done 
for our welfare. It was thus needful that he should be 


man. A vicarious obedience and suffering being absolutely 
needful on our behalf, this was required to be rendered by a 
person in our nature. And therefore it would have been 
no appropriate expiation for the guilt of man if an angel 
had suffered ; an angel could not have obeyed the same laws 
which we had broken. If the law had inflicted penalty on 
the person of an angel, there could have been no propriety 
in its being received as an expiation for the sin of man. It 
was man who had disobeyed; and it was only by a man that 
an appropriate expiation could be made for the transgression. 
So that our Lord Jesus Christ, had he not become man, 
could have had no means of rendering the due obedience. 
As God only he could not have obeyed ; he could have had no 
means of enduring suffering, or of submitting to the law; if 
he had not assumed the nature of man, he could not have be- 
come "the Lord our Righteousness." It is through his ha\'ing 
become a man that he has fulfilled the law — actively, by 
constructing a perfect righteousness — and passively, by en- 
during the whole of its penalties. And so is there a perfect 
adaptation in this respect conferred on his obedience and 
death — a perfect adaptation, by which he becomea»a fitting 
expiatory sacrifice for sin. 

In the perfection of his character as our great High Priest, 
also, the human nature of Christ is a necessary element. 
" For every high priest," says the apostle, " is ordained to 
offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that 
this man have somewhat also to offer" (Heb. viii. 3). Now 
it was his human nature, and this alone, Avhich Christ as an 
high priest had to offer ; and, in tlie suffering to which this 
was subjected, he " offered himself without spot to God." 
He thiis became both the priest and the sacrifice; "the Lamb 
of God, Avhich taketh away the sin of the world." 

V. Further, the human nature of our Loi'd Jesus Christ 
opens to us the most delightful and encouraging view, as 
adapted to engage the confidence^ and to inspire the loving 
trust, of those whom he came to redeem. There is something, 
when we try to realize God as apart from human nature, 
that is vast, vague, and awrful. But, wdien we see God in 
human flesh, when he is spoken of to us as a man, when he 
thus interposes for our redemption, and comes in the aspect 
of a relative and a brother, as a partaker of the same nature ; 
and of a being identified with us, as one who has thrown 


liimself iiito the midst of cm- sorrows that he may lift us out 
of them, and made himself liable to the evils and dangers 
of our condition, we gain encoui-agement. We should have 
had an awful fear of God in the abstract, which would have 
kept us at a distance from him; but, when thus we see God 
in the person of his Son, as God-man, coming to us as a 
brother and as a friend, we can love him, because we know 
that he can sympathize with us. "When we find the Son of 
God thus come so near to vis, we see at once that he is indeed 
" Immanuel," "God with us;" not only "with us" in fact 
and in nature, but "with us" in heart and in spii'it. Then 
we can trust him, then we must love him ; and, with his 
hand in ours, we can go, even from the gates of hell itself, 
all the way to heaven, and through all that long and dreary 
path of tears by which we have to make our final arrival 

VI. In the last place, what glories are prepared for tJiat 
human nature which our Lord and Saviour has taken into this 
wonderful union with his divinity ! Had it not been for this, 
we should have seen man only upon earth, only in scenes of 
humiliation, of sorrow, and of degradation; biit the human 
nature, which our blessed Lord assumed in his own person — 
this it is which we see exalted in honour and glory. 
There is One who appears as a Mediator before God, who 
stands in his presence, and makes a prevailing intercession 
for us. Who is it 1 It is a Man. There is One who sits 
on the throne of universal empire, and to whom all things 
give witness both in heaven and in earth. Who is it? It 
is a Man. There shall be One sitting on the throne of judg- 
ment at the last, before whom all nations shall be gathered, 
and who shall " divide them one from another, as the shepherd 
divideth his sheep from the goats." Who shall that be? It 
shall be a Man. There shall be One who shall take the 
redeemed by the hand, and present them at last with unspeak- 
able joy before the glory of his Father. Who shall that be? 
It shall be a Man. There shall be One who shall sit upon 
the throne of heaven, in whose presence all joy, and love, and 
eternal blessing, shall be found, One from whose person shall 
emanate all the sunshine and the majesty of Deity and of 
heaven. Who shall that be? It shall be a Man. It is One 
selected from no race but our own, a specimen of no nature 
but ours; the only One who could have lifted us from those 


depths of sin and sorrow, and almost of liell, into which we 
had sunk. ! race of the redeemed ! You shall at last 
see your own nature on the throne of glory, and reoegnize 
that God as your brother, as well as your Lord. 

It was when the Lord Jesus Christ was born into the 
world that was realized the prophecy which told of 
" Immanuel," of "God witli \\s:" it was when the angel 
announced, " Unto you is born a Saviour, which is Christ 
the Lord;" and when the heavenly hosts sang, ''Glory to 
God in the liighest, on earth peace, good will toward men." 
Those songs which began with his birth shall never end. 
His immortal nature shall for ever wear our form, and for 
ever engage our praise. 

" may we live to reach the place, 
Where he unveils his lovely face ; 
There all his beauties to behold, 
And sing his name to harps of gold ! " 


""Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the 
Saviour." — Isaiah xlv. 15. 

This exclamation breaks from the lips of the prophet 
Isaiah, when he has* been contemplating those ways of God 
towai'ds his people Israel which he had as a prophet to 
announce. He owns that God is " the God of Israel," and 
"the Saviour" thereof; and yet his mind seems impressed 
with the fact, that, if he is "the God of Israel" and "the 
Saviour," he does some things scarcely in apparent consis- 
tency with that character. How many times, for example, 
did he abandon his people Israel to their enemies ! and how 
was he about to sufter them to be led captive into Babylon 
for a long threescore years and ten! And, even when his 
ways to them were evidently merciful and kind, God's acts 
of kindness came at times undei* circumstances, in ways, and 
by jiersons, that could not have been looked for; making his 
very mercies as surpi'ising on the one hand, as his judgments 
might have been on the other. "Verily thou art a God 
that hidest thyself," says Isaiah — that hidest thy counsels, 
thy mercies, thy methods of operation — "thou art a God 
that hidest thyself, O God of Isi-ael, the Saviour." Thy 
ways are not all easy to be traced; thy counsels not all 

A reflection of this sort might, with full as much justice, 
arise from a contemplation of the ways of God towards his 
spiritual Israel ; a people to wliom he is attached by still 
stronger ties than those which bound him to Israel of old. 
He is, in the spiritual sense, "the God of Israel, the 
Saviour;" our God and our Saviour, we hope (many of us), 
as a part of the spiritual Israel. Precious is his mercy, lai'ge 

* Preached at Islington Green Chapel, January 31st, 1841. 


are his promises, boundless his love; and yet how severe 
some of his dealings appear ! How he " scourgeth the sons 
whom he receiveth"! How he lacerates the hearts of his 
childrsD, and rends the tenderest ties, and leaves them some- 
times bereft and solitary, mourning and sad ! "Verily he is 
a God that hideth himself" And his mercies, too— how 
strangely sometimes they come ! as though he would choose 
the unhkeliest of all circumstances, the darkest of all 
seasons, the most improbable of all means, for communi- 
cating them; as though he would make us have mercies 
when we expect trials, and find that out of the darkest 
cloud there proceeds the brightest sunshine. "Verily he is 
a God that hideth himself" And he works strange things 
--things not apparently, not manifestly, congruous, or recon- 
cilable, with liLs character of covenant friendship and love 

Nor IS there any peculiarity at all attaching itself to this 
part of the ways and administration of God. The same 
feature of the divine conduct may be seen wherever else we 
look, whether at home, or taking a wider and more excursive 
circle. If, for example, we look at the works of nature, there 
IS the same thing. We understand that God hath made 
livmg creatures that living creatures may be happy: and 
that his object m multiplymg sentient beings, beings that 
can leel, is that pleasure may be multiplied also; this is the 
benevolent, the wise, design in his creation of beings that 
are capable of happiness. And yet, if you look at the 
animal world, among a great many indications and evidences 
that theu- structure, position, and circumstances, are intended 
to produce happmess among them, you have this striking 
and apparently contradictory, fact— that about one half the 
animal world prey upon the other half; that iiinocent 
simple-hearted, things (so to speak) are just born and 
brought up to become the prey of the voracious remain- 
der; the lion and the tiger, the eagle and the vulture, the 
shark and the spider— you have them everywhere, a set of 
voracious monsters satiating their hunger upon their fellow- 
ci;eatos Herein is a mystery; a matter in which God 
hideth himself, and blends with manifest operations of a 
benevolent kind one that confounds us, and makes us ask 
How Ills benevolence can consist with this. ^ 

Or look at man. Look at the body of man; made in 
marvellous wisdom, with a thousand adaptations for physical 


action; and yet this very body of man is seized upon by 
several thousand diseases, that rack, and inflame, and chill, 
and heat, and torment it, as though it were their domain and 
home. Look at the mind of man; made to be, adapted to 
be, a source of innumerable, incessant, delights; and yet to 
what a vast extent it is the prey of ignorance, pride, anger, 
jealousy, rage, and impure, wicked, and tormenting passions : 
as though the breast of man, whatever God meant it for, 
were become a sort of Pandemonium, a nest of serpents and 
scorpions ! 

Look at human society. You see social affections in play, 
and the various circumstances in which men are placed 
adapted and prepared for their most delightful exercise, so 
that even trying circumstances are fitted for calling into 
exercise the liveliest and happiest affections; but yet, what 
is human society? You may call it Aceldama, a field of 
blood; a sphere in which the weak are trampled upon by 
the strong; in which violence, fraud, rapine, envy, plunder, 
the sword, and all instruments of moral and physical 
miscliief, are brought to bear upon the destruction of the 
welfare and the life of men. 

And God's providence. Why, God's providence is to be 
taken to be a system of wise, and holy, and beneficent 
administration; and yet what is it, when you look at it? 
There are many appearances, indeed, of its being so; but 
there are many dark things in it that one cannot at all 
understand. Sin and wickedness, pride, and tyranny, and 
wrong — these ought to be connected with suffering and 
punishment, but yet how often they triumph! And the 
gentle, and the upright, and the virtuous — these should have 
a vindicator and defender; but how often they seem to be 
abandoned to poverty and despair! 

Or if you take a wider view still, and contemplate the 
ways of God in this world — the view in which it 
becomes the theatre for his interposition in redemption 
through his dear Son, what a mystery is here ! God made 
man upright — made a world for holiness, for happiness, for 
virtue, for religion; but into what a condition the world 
comes before it affords him opportunity for redemption! 
Why, the whole world is contaminated, polluted ; the world 
becomes a theatre of sin and rebellion; and God, with all 
his love, is obliged to come forth with a curse, and reveal 


wrath from heaven against the universal impiety and 
injustice of men. The earth itself becomes a sort of 
nursery for hell ; a spot where thousands and thousands of 
men, age after age, do but sport themselves in sin — do but 
educate themselves for damnation. And yet the great, the 
good, the gracious, the wise, the holy God — he does sucli 
things as these. "Verily thou art a God that hidest thy- 
self, O God of Israel, the Saviour." 

Now views of this sort are painful in two ways. In the 
first place, they give occasion to men of sceptical minds 
— men who are glad enough to find any occasion of raising 
an objection against the ways or character of God, and are 
determined to stumble over some stone or other into hell, if 
they can — to think and to say hard things; they feed and 
nourish the enmity of theii* hearts against God. Besides, 
views of this sort give occasion to many painful thoughts, to 
many feelings of dilficulty and amazement, in the friends and 
children of God. 

And yet there are considerations by which the painfulness 
of such views as these may be greatly diminished. There are 
thoughts by which the mystery that attends God's ways may 
be put into a light less afilicting and disturbing, while there 
is intrinsic value and preciousness in those thoughts them- 
selves. And it is for the purpose of setting before you two 
or three thoughts of this class that I have taken the subject 
wliich engages us this morning. 

I. The first of them is — That, taking the case at the very 
worst, and at the greatest amount, it is nothing but a case of 

The ways of God are in some respects such as cannot be 
understood, they are difficult of explanation. That we 
admit; but no more. It is not that the ways of God ai'e 
in any case such as yield proof, or demonstration, of ill. 
There is no case from whence anything like a conclusive 
argument can be di-awn against the wisdom, the goodness, 
or the holiness of God. There is no kind of proof — no 
infidel ever pretended that from any part of his ways a 
proof could be derived — that God was unwise, or unholy, or 
unkind. All that is to be said is — Upon a general presump- 
tion and admission that God is wise, and kind, and holy, 
here are some things that present startling difficulties, that 
cannot be explained in consistency with these views. 


Well, it is one very liappy consideration that the matter 
can be reduced to this limit; that we have not to contend 
with cases which are supposed to atford evidence of want of 
wisdom, holiness, or goodness in God; that it is only a 

It is admitted at the same time that these difficulties may, 
for aught that appears, admit of a wise and happy solution. 
For example, with respect to the animal world, and one part 
of it preying upon another ; that is a difficulty in connexion 
with the goocbiess of God in creating the animal world, but 
it is not a proof that in creating the animal world God was 
actuated by malignity; and it may be shown us hereafter 
that the fact is quite reconcilable with the goodness of God 
in creating that portion of his works. So with respect to 
man, and with respect to that which is confessedly the 
gi'eatest mystery of all, the introduction of sin into the 
world: we cannot at present see how this is reconcilable 
with the wisdom, the holiness, and the goodness of God, but 
we may see it hereafter. The whole case, therefore, is one 
of undeveloped plan — one of unfinished process — one of 
partial ignorance, of defective knowledge; and all that is at 
present inexplicable about the ways of God may, for aught 
we know, be done away, and the whole may appear as 
bright and beautiful, as consistent with holiness, and 
wisdom, and goodness, as anything we do undei-stand, or 
seem to understand. 

2. Then, in the second place, the observation is to be 
made — That we have no reason at all to complain of the 
difficulties — the kind and degree of mystery — that now 
attach to the ways of God, nor any reason to expect it 
should be otherwise. 

The mystery which thus attaches to the ways of God 
arises in part from physical, or natural, causes. In fact, 
there is an impossibility of its being removed. And this 
arises out of the great diversity of knowledge and under- 
standing that exists betwixt God and ourselves. Two 
persons between whom there is a great diversity of know- 
ledge, will find always that this diversity of knowledge 
gives rise to mystery. Here, for example, is a very clever 
mechanic; he makes steam-engines, or he makes lace- 
machines : well, I know nothing either of steam-engines, or 
of lace-machines; if I look at one of them I am baffled 


utterly ; and, if I ask liim to explain it to me, it is a very 
little of it indeed that lie can explain. Whyl Through 
my ignorance as compared with his knowledge. Take a still 
stronger case than this, as that between man and the brutes. 
Suppose one of the birds of the air were to set himself to 
ponder some of the works of men, and to say, in his bird- 
like twitter, that he could not understand them ; why, he is 
only a bu-d, and it is not likely he can understand the opera- 
tions of a man. Now that case is not at all too strong for 
our object. We are looking at the ways of God; and the 
faculties of a bird to the ways of man are, I suppose, quite 
as competent as the faculties of man to the ways of God. 
If we had as much knowledge as God has, we might under- 
stand God's ways; but, with the vastness of God's knowledge 
and the feebleness and smallness of our own, it is an utter 
impossibility that we should. If they be the ways of God, 
they must be mysterious through the very imperfection and 
smallness of our knowledge. We have, therefore, no' reason 
to complain. A complaint of mystery is, in other words, 
repining that God's knowledge is larger than our own. 

And then, in the next place, as this mystery arises in part 
from the smallness of our knowledge, so it arises in part 
from the unfavourableness of our position even for ma ki ng 
use of what means of knowledge we have. We do not stand 
so in relation to God and his ways as to take the most clear 
and favourable Adew of them. This kind of mystery existed 
for a very long while with reference to the science of astro- 
nomy, for example. Astronomers were talking of the 
motion of the sun and the moon, the planets and the 
heavenly bodies, and they seemed all in a tangle — twisted 
everlastingly; and they found at last that the tangled cha- 
racter of the motioa of the heavenly bodies resulted from 
this circumstance — that they wei-e looking on from the 
earth : an astronomer, in some lucky moment, lut upon the 
thought of conceiving himself in the sun; and, imagining 
himself there, he found that, from the sun, the movements 
of the stars are all very plam, and there is not a tangle 
among them. Now just so we are looking upon the ways 
of God from the eai-th : let us wait till we get to a better 
position. When the time comes that we stand in the sun 
(if I may so say) — stand in the centre of God's universe — 
we shall find all very plain, perhaps. At all events, things 


will be much clearer then; the change of our position will 
very much assist our acquisition of knowledge. 

And then, thirdly, we have no reason to complain of this 
mystery, because God, as the governor of the world, has a 
right to work in mystery and darkness. Why, my Lord 
Palmerston works in darkness; the foreign Secretary of the 
English government works in mystery. How the world 
would laugh at him if he did not ! if he let all men, friends 
or foes, know what he was about! And is the Governor of 
all things to have no mysteries? " It is the glory of God to 
conceal a thing;" and that he can form designs, and work 
them out, and defy the whole universe to penetrate them, or 
to know what he means to do, till he sees fit to disclose his 
plan in all its completeness, and lay bare its beauty in the 
eyes of all — there is his glory as a governor. And there is 
not any one of his friendly subjects that will ever complain 
of this. 

A nd there is, also, a fourth reason ; namely, that the 
processes of God's government, as res2:)ecting oui'selves, have 
a probationary and disciplinary design. It is as ai'ising out 
of their mysteriousness that many of the ways of God are 
trying, and fitted to the improvement of our character. 
Proceedings that are mysterious cannot be traced; they call 
for trust, and are exercises of confidence. It would be 
little to walk all the way to heaven with God, if we could 
understand him in eveiy step that he took. Our ground of 
trust and confidence, and of the honour that we so do him, 
is that he is leading us as "the blind by a way that we 
know not." To take away the mystery of God's dealings 
with us, were to take away the ground on which he 
requires faith and trust, and calls upon us to render him 
some of the chief honours he receives feom us on earth. 

This, then, is the second observation : that we have no 
cause to complain of the mystery which attaches now to 
the ways of God ; there are good reasons for it. 

3. The third obserA^ation I make, is this — That the 
wisdom, holiness, and goodness of God are, in point of 
fact, established so firmly by solid proofs and arguments, 
that not all the mystery which attaches to the ways of God 
at present can ever disturb the conclusion. 

It is not as though there were enough really to shake our 
confidence in liim, to bring his character into any grave, or 


real, question. Whatevei' force there may be in certain cir- 
cumstances, or parts of God's ways, to fill us with a feeling 
of mystery and inexplicableness, when we come really to 
the character of God, its wisdom, holiness, and goodness, are 
established by proofs so clear, so irrefragable, that they 
cannot be doubted. Here are a thousand times stronger 
proofs that God is wise, and holy, and good, than can be 
derived on the contrary side from the mystery of God's 
ways. If you take, for example, the functions of the 
animal world and the relation of various tribes to one 
another, their position and circumstances in the world, and 
the provision made in the world for their supply and comfort 
— the aptitude of the bird to make its nest, and of every 
creatui'e to provide for its own welfare — here is demonstra- 
tion that the Creator meant kindness. The voracity of one 
part of the animal creation in preying upon another is a 
difficulty j but it would be far more absurd to put the diffi- 
culty foremost, and take it for the main principle established 
in the face of all other evidence, than to admit the kindness 
from the multiplied proofs there are of it, and to allow this 
as a difficulty only. 

And so with respect to all the other cases. To confine 
myself to the chief case — the admission of evil into the 
world — the consequences of sin; however the pei'mission of 
sin, the dominion of it, and its grievous consequences in 
the ruin of such multitudes of men, may go to make us 
think — "Well, can God be wise, to make a world like thisi 
can God be holy, to permit sin to ravage his dominions 1 can 
God be good, to have created beings so many of whom will 
perish for everl" — bring the question whether God is wise, 
is holy, is good, to the cross of Christ, and ask it there. 
Look into the very person of Jesus Christ; look into the 
plan of salvation; see what a method is there devised for 
providing a sacrifice for transgression, and for the reconcilia- 
tion of rebels — the justification of the condemned, the sanc- 
tification of the impure, the glorification of the lost, and the 
balancing of evil results from sin by at least equal results of 
glory from redemption. See here if God be not wise. The 
plan of redemption the product of a man? — of a fool? 
There is not a being in existence but God that could have 
conceived ideas so beautiful, a plan so perfect. It stands for 
every rational being that can apprehend it to gaze on^ and 


admire. No; the God that devised this plan is infinitely- 
wise; and, if there be anything in liis ways that looks like 
folly, it must be only because the wisdom of it is not yet 

Look again at the cross of Christ, and ask there if God be 
not holy. God has let so much sin into the world that one 
might say, " He does not seem to care about sin." Does he 
not? See what he speaks concerning it in the cross of Christ. 
It was to manifest his displeasure against sin, to manifest his 
holiness, that he slew his Son — slew his Son ! Oh ! he hates 
sin with a perfect hatred. The damnation of the whole 
world would never have been an eqnal demonstration of his 
hatred of sin with the slaying of his Son. He does hate 
sin ; and, however there may be a difficulty attaching to the 
Ul that he has allowed sin to cause in this world, it is 
only a difficulty. The holiness of God stands blazingly 
demonstrated in the cross of his Son, notwithstanding this 

Or, again, at the cross of Christ ask the question whether 
God is good — whether he hath an interest in the happiness 
of his creatures. See there ; that sinners might be released, 
and the lost reclaimed, and the condemned made happy, he 
gave his only Son, and spared him not. There may be many 
very dark things in God's providence, many scenes of suffer- 
ing arising from the admission of sin ; very possibly — but all 
this never, never, can call in question whether God is good, 
so long as there i-emains unforgotten by men the fact of the 
gift of his Son for the world. 

And it is so throughoixt. The demonstration of the 
wisdom, the holiness, the goodness, of God's character is so 
overpowering, that it reduces all these matters of mystery to 
a small amount ; we shut them up under this one general 
trifling item — they are difficulties in the ways of him who is 
manifestly, beyond question, the Avisest, the best, the holiest, 
of beings. 

4. Foui-thly, when we look at such parts of God's ways 
as are already finished, we see the mystery disappear from 
them: however, if they had been looked at in their progi'ess, 
they would have seemed very mysterioiis, and difficult to be 
understood, when they are finished they appear wise, and 
kind, and good. For some parts of God's ways, though 
small comparatively, ore finished. 


Look at the history of Joseph, for example, from the time 
when he provoked the jealousy of his brethren ; and trace 
his course through the pit where it was likely he would have 
died — through the hands of the slave-dealers that bought 
him — in the dungeon where he lay — up to the right hand of 
the throne of Pharaoh — where he accomplished, through 
divine providence, the most marvellous results. Look at the 
case of Job ; the apostle notices it, you know, in this way — 
" Ye have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very 
pitiful, and of tender mercy." Ah ! brethren, wherever we 
do " see the end of the Lord" — the end he had in view, the 
end to which he brings things, the consummation of his plan 
— we see it is one with himself The mystery? it is like a 
cloud, which, as you look upon a prospect, lowers over it ; 
the shadow of it darkens the road, makes the way mysterio\is, 
but the place beyond is in the sunshine. Bright is the home, 
though dark be the way; and the cloud that darkens the 
road — what is it but a momentary intervention, a hiding of 
the sun that diminishes nothing fi-om his lustre, or from the 
certainty that the traveller shall reach his home'? The 
mysteiy attaches to the middle of God's ways; let him 
finish them, and they will be plain. 

Now from one judge all of the ways of God. If, in cases 
in which God's ways are finished, we see the mystery dis- 
appear, and the end explain all, we may expect just the same 
result when all shall be finished. He that now, as he finishes 
his ways in part, shows each part in beauty, is preparing by 
these parts, each of which is beautiful, to construct a whole 
the beauty of which shall be consummate and complete. 
Let him go on. When it is all done what shall we have to 
say? Only this : " Thou hast done all things well." 

5. Finally, there is some force in a thought of this kind : 
that the mysteiy which now attaches to the ways of God 
must be effectually and completely done taway hereafter, 
because God huuself (if one may speak it reverently) stands 
as a candidate for the applause of the universe. 

He is working out his designs in the presence of beings 
whom he has made capable of understanding them in part ; 
ourselves, for example, and the devils, and the angels in 
heaven. He is working out his designs in the presence of 
critical judges. Not that it is of any consequence to God, 
one may say, what we think of his ways ; but yet, inasmuch 


as God has made us capable of appreciating his ways, and of 
deriving emotions from understanding them (either glorious 
or otherwise), there can be no question but that God means to 
stand well in the judgment of creatures whom he has thus 
made capable of judging. He has never made us capable of 
appreciating what is wise, and holy, and good, without an 
intention that his ways should correspond with these ideas ; 
that all our thoughts of adoration and love may blend 
themselves ultimately in the revenue of glory he means to 
receive at our hands. Our notions of what is wise, and holy, 
and good, are radically and elementarily right — are an 
emanation from God's own being — from God's own heart ; 
and he means that, when his works shall be all consummated, 
they shall engage the profound admiration, the holy worsliip, 
of these minds and hearts of ours, which he has made so to 
feel, so to think, so to judge. Oui's are the hearts that are 
to adore him, oui's are the lips that are to praise him, 
mingling with those of angels and of beings from innu- 
merable worlds besides. He is to be praised. That is to be 
the consummation ; it is for his own glory that all things 
" are, and were created." In the end they will be unveiled ; 
enough will be discovered to us concerning all his ways 
hereafter, to secure the universal tribute of adoration and 
gratitude that is to be rendered as his due. 

Now for the result, then, of these thovights. They avail to 
relieve the pain ai-ising from a contemplation of the mystery 
of God's ways. And, to bring them to a practical improve- 
ment, let me say — 

First, that we may learn hence the infinite importance of 
a spirit of friendship Avith God. And there are two views 
to be taken of this. 

A spirit of friendship with God is of great importance, in 
the first place, because it is only in the spirit of a friend that 
his character cam. be justly viewed. An enemy to God — any 
man who v^dshes to find grounds of objection, who wants to 
stumble — will find plenty of stumbling-blocks. There is food 
enough for an infidel, sceptical, disposition. He who wants 
occasions for objections against the wisdom, and holiness, 
and goodness, of God, will find them. God has left them in 
his ways. He challenges the examination of his ways in 
the spirit of a friend ; but he leaves difficulties in them, to 
fui'ijisJi any m9,n who wishes to go to hell with a pretext for 


going there. He puts every man to tlie test — to the test of 
a right spirit. It is only in the spirit of friendship that any 
man can fairly judge of his character. A spirit of alienation 
and enmity blackens everything, and makes a man derive 
more sources of objection from the difficulties of God's ways 
than of confidence from their prevailing character. I pray 
every one of you, if you are concerned to judge truly of 
God's ways, to cultivate a spirit of friendshij? with God. 
Do not come to him as a willing objector, but look on his 
ways as a friend, if you would form any correct judgment. 
Prejudice and alienation destroy all chance of a fair con- 

And, in the next place, friendship with God is of import- 
ance, also, because of the very fact of the mystery of his 
Ways. God's way to yourself will be mysterious ; and how 
can you bear to be in the hands of a Being whose ways are 
mysterious, without being sure that he is yoiu- friend 1 You 
will not be able to judge of God's ways concerning you ; 
they will be dark ; you cannot trace them ; he will lead you 
as one that is blind. Oh ! how can you bear to have to say 
— " TJiis God is leading me as a blind man by ways that I 
cannot trace; perhaps I am his enemy, and perhaps he is 
mine ; I have no security for his kind treatment. He is 
leading me as a blind man, perhaps he is laying upon me his 
wrath, and the way in which he leads me may be one in 
which I shall perish !" Oh ! what blind man is there who 
would ever consent to be led by one whom he did not 
suppose to be his friend? Suppose that you were a blind 
man, and you wanted to be led through a difficult and 
dangerous way, and there was one saying, " I will lead you." 
You would not be so blind as that. You would say — "Who 
are you ] Perhaps you may be an enemy of mine, who may 
do me mischief; or, perhaps, you may be a careless person, 
who may let me get into danger." The blind man will wish 
to be led by a friend; by one to whom he may say, " I will 
trust myself with you, because I know you will lead me 
right." All ! how is it that you, being blind as to the ways 
of providence — you who must be led by God — can bear to 
be in a position so critical, so awful, without being able to 
say, " This God is my God for ever and ever, he will be my 
guide even unto death"? To think that he calls upon you 
to be reconciled to him, and you, perhaps, ai'e not reconciled! 


You can be content to march on in blackness so cheerless 
now, to "blackness of darkness for ever"! 

Secondly, the friends of God should learn to trust him 
with unshaken confidence. We shoiUd not be shaken at all 
by the objections of the infidel ; we have grounds for trust 
and confidence, security that God's character is all that it 
should be. We should not be shaken or disquieted by the 
meditations of our own hearts ; come back, and come home, 
to the conclusive proofs of God's glorious character — wisdom, 
and holiness, and goodness — and rest there, and give him 
time to work out his own plan. The time for fretting, dear 
friends, is not come yet ; if you fret, fret when you get to 
heaven. It is too soon yet. You do not know what God 
means to do, or why he acts as he is acting. Be satisfied, 
rather, that, if you knew as much as God knows, your 
judgment would not at all differ from his. You think now, 
that, if you could, you would alter God's ways ; you would 
bring the millennium a great deal sooner, you would have 
Jesus Christ come down at once, and put an end to all these 
evils — ay, that you would. It is the dictate of a kind 
heart, I do not doubt, but it is the dictate of a small under- 
standing. If you knew all that God knows, and were as 
wise as God is, you would let providences be just as dark, 
and afilictions just as heavy. Tiiist him. He is "a God 
that liideth himself," but he is not a God unwise, or unkind. 
The best, the holiest, the most glorious reasons actuate him; 
the best, the hoKest, the most glorious results shall follow. 
Do not interfere with him one instant, nor one hair. Trust 
him ; and endeavour to tiiist him cheerfully — without 
repiniug, without fear. It is wisdom, it is mercy, aU. 
Even — 

" The clouds ye so much dread 
Are big with mercy," 

and not with wrath. He deserves this at our hands ; and it 
is one of the honours that we are to render him in this dark 
and mysterious world. 

Finally, let us anticipate with joy the world that is to 
come. We know something of revelation — of discovery — 
now; but the world to come is to be a world of revelation 
altogether — a world of unveiling, of discovering, things in 
their beginnings, things in their bearings, tilings in their 
conclusion. The world to come will be the time (so to speak) 


for God's txirning towards us the tapestry which he is 
working. We see now the many colours, but we see the 
rough edges, the imperfect figures, the back of the tapestiy; 
wait till yon see the front ! Then the outline, the filling up, 
the colouring — all is to appear; and God, in his brightest 
wisdom, and in his richest love, and in his purest holiness, is 
to shine in it all. Yes, it is to come. " That which is in 
part" shall be done away, and " that which is perfect" shall 
come. Concerning all God's dealings with us it is to come. 
We shall see in everything what we can approve, admire, 
and love. Concerning all his dealings with others the same 
is to come. He is "wonderful in counsel, and excellent in 
working;" and, when the darkness shall have passed away, 
and the end shall have arrived, he will give to us all who are 
his friends reason to spend eternity in adoring contempla- 
tion, and ceaseless praise. 


"Whether . . . our brethren be inqiiired of, they are the messeiigers 
of the chiirches, and the glory of Christ." — 2 Gov. viii. 23. 

The facts were these. Paul had been raising money for 
the poor saints in Judea ; and, in order to guard himself 
against suspicion, he had made arrangements for sending it 
thither by the hands of selected brethren. In his first 
epistle to the church at Corinth, he had engaged their 
co-operation in this work of love under the condition that 
their liberality should be conveyed to Jerusalem by persons 
whom they themselves should appoint ; but now he intimates 
that he v/as sending two brethren otherwise chosen to per- 
form this duty, and that he had added Titus to the party, in 
order to animate them to a prompt completion of their con- 
tribution. In announcing this change of his purpose, the 
apostle did not forget the character of the church he was 
addressing, or overlook the possible, if not probable, resent- 
ment of the factious party who had given him so much 
trouble. " What has Titus to do with this business % " they 
might ask; "and who are these strangei-s?" To these 
anticipated questions he gives, in the verse from which our 
text is taken, the following answer: — "Whether any do 
inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow-helper concern- 
ing you ; or our brethren be inquii-ed of, they are the 
messengers of the churches, and the glory of Clnist." In 
calling them "the messengei's of the churches," the apostle 
intimated that they had been chosen by other churches, 
although not by the Corinthian, to convey the bounty of 

* Preached before the Baptist Missionary Society, at Finsbury Chapel, 
January 7th, 1846, on occasion of the death of the Rev. W. Yates, D.D., 
of Calcutta, and the Rev. W. Knibb, of Jamaica. 

"the messengers of the churches." 63 

the Gentile Christians to their Jewish brethren. In further 
calling them "the glory of Christ," he uses an expressive 
term, which might seem at first sight to be capable of being 
developed into some interesting and beautiful thoughts; 
tipon examination, however, the idea appears to be simply 
tliis — that the brethren of whom he speaks were of known 
devotedness to the glory of Christ, and had been conspicu- 
ously instrumental in promoting it. Of one of them, indeed 
(supposed to be Luke), the praise was in all the churches ; 
and the other (supposed to be Apollos) had oftentimes been 
proved diligent and trustworthy by the apostle himself. 
The confidence, therefore, which was now reposed in them 
could not be regarded as misplaced. 

The passage I have read I have deemed not unsuitable as 
an introduction to the present discourse, the object of which 
is to improve those solemn and affecting dispensations of 
divine providence, by which two beloved brethren have 
recently been removed from the missionary field. Concern- 
ing them the questions may naturally be jiroposed, Who 
were they? and what are their claims to so distinguished a 
commemoration 1 The words of the apostle furnish our 
reply, " If our brethren be inquired of, they were the 
messengers of the chui'ches, and the glory of Christ." Let 
us dwell for a moment on the elements of this answer. 

1. They were "the glory of Christ;" in other words, 
they were the instruments for promoting his gloiy. To this 
purpose their lives were devoted ; in common, indeed, with 
all Christians, but with a peculiar emphasis also, inasmuch 
as they had been led to undertake the arduous duties, and to 
encounter the multiform perils, of the missionary calling. 
Nor was their devotedness in vain. The Redeemer whom 
they loved was graciously pleased to accept and own it, by 
making them both instrumental in no ordinary degree to the 
advancement of his cause. 

2. If, as I trust, we deeply sympathize with our departed 
brethren on this ground, it will still more closely connect 
them with ourselves to regard them as " the messengers of 
the churches." Unaccomplished as the great commission is, 
" Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every 
creature," the churches of Christ have felt that they them- 
selves had a duty to do; a duty, however, which could not 
be performed by them in the mass, but one which required 

64 "the messengers of the churches, 

individual consecration and sacrifice. Looking on the iiea- 
then world, and hearkening at length, with heaving bosom, 
to the long-neglected cry of the pe;j:ishing, " Come over, and 
help lis!" they asked, "Whom shall we send] And who 
will go for us 1 " The precious dead were among those who 
answered to this appeal. First one and then the other of 
them said, " Here am I, send me." And the churches 
•accepted their dedication. They went, not so much for 
themselves as for us. It was their business to speak in our 
name, to toil on our behalf, to represent us to the nations. 
Their labours were imdertaken in order to efiect the dis- 
charge of our duty, and the dangers they braved were 
encountered in our stead. 

3. To these considerations another may be added, tending 
still further to show the propriety of the present service. In 
the points hitherto noticed the deceased brethren exhibit no 
peculiarity; they formed only part of a large and inestim- 
able band of whom the same things may be said. Where- 
fore, then, it may l^e asked, are they thus commemorated 
beyond their brethren? Not, certainly, on account of any 
personal preference, or on any ground of invidious selection : 
but partly because, as will be admitted on all hands, they 
have attained, in theii* respective spheres of operation, an 
unrivalled eminence; and partly because the removal, not 
of one only, but of two such distinguished agents of the 
Society within so short a pei'iod — it may also be said, at the 
same period— constitutes an era, if not a crisis, in its history, 
" God hath spoken once; yea, twice :" and it becomes us with 
unwonted solemnity, under these circumstances, to receive 
instruction at his hands. 

With a view, then, to prepare our way to the reflections 
which the solemn events we commemorate are adapted to 
suggest, I proceed to present to you a slight and hurried 
sketch — it is all that the time permits — of the men whose 
loss we deplore. 

Dr. Yates, to whom the earlier period of bis death turns 
our attention in the first instance, was born on the 15th 
of December, 1792, at Loughborough, where also he was 
baptized on a profession of his faith in Christ, at a period 
anterior to his fourteenth year. At the early age I have 
named, a sermon which he heard on God's ability to provide 
agents for evangelizing the world melted him to tears, and 


gave l)irtli to a deep and solemn purpose of devotedness of 
which his whole subsequent life was the development. Like 
Dr. Carey, his great precursor, he was brought up a shoe- 
maker, differing irom him, however, in being, what Carey 
was not, an expert Avorkman. Yates combined with his 
duty to his last a diligent attendance at a grammar school; 
and, having been encouraged to turn his thoughts to the 
ministry, in his twentieth year he applied for admission into 
the Baptist College at Bristol. Here his capabilities, veiled, 
but not concealed, by an eminently modest and retiring 
manner, were soon appreciated. Fulfilling with little exer- 
tion, however, the duties of his class, he lived in a world of 
his own, and devoted a large portion of his time, both by 
day and by night, to unrequired studies and unsuspected 
acquisitions. The purpose of his fourteenth year had ripened. 
Now he had made up his mind to be a missionaiy. " Once 
j)ledged to the undertaking," says one who was his fellow- 
student, and is about to become his biographer, " there was 
a degree of romance and chivalry, as well as of Christian 
zeal and magnanimity, in his proceedings. He calmly un- 
rolled the map of the Avorld, surveyed the entire field, and 
proceeded to select the portion he would cultivate." He 
fixed on Abyssinia, and he began searching the library for 
Amharic grammars and Bibles. Dui-ing the second year of 
his studies he entertained the idea of projiosing himself to 
the Bai)tist Missionary Society, and the letter is still extant 
which he wrote to Mr. Hall on this subject — a letter written 
in so sweet a spirit, and so truly characteristic of the man, 
that I am sorry the limits of this service will not permit me 
to read it entire. I confine myself to a single extract, which 
I select because it shows at once his unafiected piety, modesty, 
and self-knowledge. " When I consider iilso my natural 
talents," says he, " I think I may be of some use in this 
work. All men have some talents. I wish not to think of 
mine more highly than I ought to think, but to think 
soberly; and I desire to devote them all to him who has 
loved me, and bought me with his blood. The only thing I 
want to know is where I may be most useful. I think, if I 
Lave a talent for anything, it is for the learning of language ; 
this I can study witli unwearied diligence and delight; and 
I know that this is one of essential importance in the quali- 
fications of a missionaiy." Impressed with the same convic- 



tion, the Committee of the Society directed Mr. Yates's 
attention to India; he accepted tliat country as his field of 
toil, and sailed on the 28th of October, 18 14. 

Wannly was he welcomed at Serampore by the pioneer of 
biblical translators in the East, who seems to have seen in 
him, what he really was, a man eminently gifted to perfect 
his own gigantic itndertakings. 

During the shoi-t period of his residence at this station, he 
applied himself to the work of translation in immediate 
association with Dr. Carey; but, on his removal, as one of 
the then junior brethren, to Calcutta, in the beginning of 
the year 181 7, and for some years afterwards, he devoted 
himself to more general missionaiy labour, pursuing at the 
same time, however, with his characteristic constancy, the 
acquisition of Oriental literature. In 1827, after twelve 
years of exhausting toil, and in a very reduced state of health, 
he revisited his native land by way of America, where his 
simplicity of character, purity of purpose, and solidity of 
learning, made a deep and just impression. In England, he 
preached one of the anniversary sermons at the annual 
meeting of the Society in 1828. It seems to have been on 
his return to India in the autumn of the same year, that 
he entered on the work of translating the Scriptures as the 
great business of his life. During the fourteen years which 
he was permitted to consecrate to this employment, he trans- 
lated the whole of the Scriptures into the Bengali language, 
the whole of the New Testament into Urdu, the same into 
Hindui, the same into Sanscrit, and the half of the Old 
Testament into the same difficult tongue. With various 
interruptions from personal and domestic affliction, he pur- 
sued his indefatigable career till the commencement of the 
year 1845. -^^ ^ ^^^^ resource in regard to his own life, or 
rather, as an experiment affording but small hope of success, 
a second voyage to England was then undertaken. The 
fears entertained were but too speedily realized; and our 
beloved bi-other, cheered in his latest days by the kindly 
attentions of a Christian minister and missionaiy, the Rev. 
J. S. Wardlaw, of whom I take with pleasure this oppor- 
tunity of making honourable mention, departed to his rest 
from the bosom of the deep. He died July the 3rd, 1845, 
in his fifty-third year. His last hours were eminently serene 
and tranquil ; they were also pervaded by an unabated 


attachment to liis work. "My only regi-et," said he, "is 
that I am called so soon from the field." This language was 
in substance a renewed expression of the emotions of his 
fourteenth year, as his whole intermediate life had been a 
course of persevering toil identical \\dth both. 

Dr. Yates preserved the striking simplicity of his character 
throughout the whole of life. Even when a man of profound 
learning, he was as simple as a child. Both his capacity for 
acqxiiring language, and his industry in study, must have 
been vast. His known reading, and his various literary 
works, added to his efforts in biblical translation, have most 
surprised those who are the best able to judge of them. 
Those who most intimately knew him do not ascribe to him 
intellectual greatness ; his leading characteristic was, in their 
judgment, a finely balanced mind. "Rarely has it happened," 
says Mr. Leslie, " that in any one man have all the powers of 
the mind been found in a state of svich equal development, or, 
in other words, in a state of such meet proportion, as in him. 
In his mind, according to its stature (and this was not small), 
there seemed to be nothing defective and nothing redundant, 
but all appeared to be adjusted by the laws of the nicest 
harmony." His moral character seems to have been as com- 
plete, and as nicely adjusted, as his intellectual nature; and 
both conspired with his extensive learning to make him, 
what he is universally admitted to have been, a faithful and 
felicitous translator of the Word of God. For a considerable 
period of his life he stood at the head of the entire body of 
Oriental translators of the Scrij^tures. His object, generally 
speaking, was not to translate into new, or into many, lan- 
guages, but to elaborate, and to advance towards perfection, 
what had already been on a magnificent scale begun. And 
he succeeded in his aim. His Bengali Bible is admitted on 
all hands to be an unrivalled production, and a model for 
translators. The rendering of the Old Testament into San- 
scrit, the great work to which his latest energies were 
devoted, was one which no orientalist then living but himself 
was competent to undertake. 

Mr. Knibb was born at Kettering, in the year 1803. He 
was apprenticed in the city of Bristol to a printer, and seems 
during the term of his apprenticeship to have experienced 
the great transformation. He was a devoted Sunday school 
teacher. On one occasion he suggested the then hazardous 

68 "the messengers of the chtoches, 

measure of pi-eacliing iu Bristol fair, and be placed himself 
by the side of the minister who executed it. On receiving 
intelligence of the death of Mr. Thomas Knibb, who had 
gone to Jamaica as a schoolmaster in connexion with the 
church at Kingston about two years before, his resolution 
was promptly taken to fill up his brother's place; and, aftei- 
spending some time at the Normal Institution of the British 
and Foreign School Society, he sailed for the West Indies in 
the month of November, 1824. He soon became a ]n-eaclier 
as well as a schoolmaster; and being required by indications 
of declining health to quit Kingston, he took charge for a 
time of the station at Ridgeland, in connexion with Savanna- 
la-Mar. On the church at Falmouth being bereaved of a 
pastor by the death of Mr. Mann, Mr. Knibb was invited 
to become his successor. So deep a hold did his ardent and 
generous feelings take of the then enslaved and oppressed 
blacks, that, on the question of his settlement being put to 
the church, every member present held up both hands, and 
the whole then burst simultaneously into tears. 

His course as a missionary was eminently successful. At 
the period of his settlement the church at Falmouth con- 
sisted of about seven hundred and fifty membei's; under his 
care it not only increased, but multiplied, so that, at the 
time of his death, it had given origin to five additional 
churches, none of them being more than twelve miles distant 
from the town, and a considerable number of his most valu- 
able friends being sometimes drafted ofi" in their formation. 
The number of members in the six churches is now about 
four thousand, and the conversions known to have been 
effected by his own ministry are said to amount to a similar 
number. His influence over his neighbouring brethren and 
their flocks was powerful, and it was always beneficially 
employed. He diftused over all the stations on the north 
side of the island the active spirit which characterized him- 
self, and he was the originator of the association of these 
churches known by the name of the Baptist Western Union. 
With him, also, originated the generous sentiment, that the 
mission churclies in Jamaica should, for the sake of extend- 
ing the iisefulness of the Society, relieve it from the burden 
of their pecuniary support; and many strenuous efforts did 
he make to encourage and assist those who felt painfully the 
temporary effects of their resolution to do so. Had his 


course been only that of a missionary, William Knibb would 
have stood among the most devoted, the most generous, and 
the most successful, of his class; events occurred in Jamaica, 
however, which forced him into the arena of public life. 

It had from the first been the policy of the Society, in 
common with all missionary societies which employed agents 
in the British slave-colonies, to take no part against slavery, 
but to do all that non-interfei-ence with that unrighteous 
and oppressive system could do to engage the favour of the 
planters. Little, indeed, of the coveted element was obtained 
by this course; but, with the help of this little, or rather, 
in the teeth of a virulent and all but universal opposition, 
the Gospel sjjread extensively and rapidly among the slaves, 
and C'hristianity was found — as when and where has it not 
been found i — incompatible with slavery. It did not, indeed, 
directly denounce the unrighteousness of the master, but it 
rendei-ed his tyranny impracticable by raising the character 
of the slave. The planters resolved, accordingly, by some 
means or other, to expel the missionaries from the island. 

An opportunity of attempting this soon offered. Just 
before Christmas, 1831, the slaves broke out in insurrection. 
Martial law was pi'oclaimed, and the iitmost licence of that 
lawless condition was taken to harass and insult the mis- 
sionaries at large, and Mr. Knibb especially. A charge of 
conspiracy and criminal privity was, without a shadow of a 
foundation, and contrary, indeed, to conclusive evidence, got 
iij) against him; and upon this charge he was arrested, torn 
away from his home, and kept in custody part of two days, 
at the point of bayonets held by insolent militia men, who 
took no pains to conceal that they were thirsting for his 
blood. He was afterwards pi'osecuted on the same charge; 
but the Attorney-General of the island had not the hardi- 
hood to proceed on so baseless an indictment. 

Foiled in theii- first attempt, the maddened planters did 
not abandon their design. Not so much deeming that the 
religion of the Established Church could safely be blended 
with slavery, as thinking that, under the cloak of zeal for 
the church, they might perpetrate with impunity every 
crime against the Dissenters, they formed the Colonial Church 
Union; the avowed intention of which was to destroy the 
chapels, and to banish the missionaries. Then began that 
series of lawless and malignant outrages, of which, some 


twelve years ago, the world heard so much; and then was 
formed the sentiment and the resolution in the breasts of 
oui" missionaries, to which Bi'itish colonial slavery owes its 
downfall. Our brethren came to an agreement with the 
planters on the great principle that slavery and Christianity 
could not exist together, and then they parted. The plan- 
ters said, We will exterminate Christianity ; the missionaries 
rejoined, We will abolish slavery. 

Such was the origin of the memorable visit made to this 
country by brethren Knibb and Burchell, in the year 1832. 
I need not — cannot — here go into detail, or make more than 
a passing reference to the irrepressible boldness, and the 
undaunted courage, with which Knibb pui'sued his object — 
first in the Committee — then on the j)latform of the Society at 
its annual meeting — afterwards at meetings throughout the 
country, often face to face with the then unabashed defenders 
of slavery — and, finally, in protracted examinations before 
Committees of the two Houses of Parliament. Nor need I 
here enlarge on the result. I will say only, that it was 
humanity's purest and noblest triumph, won, as was fit, by 
the purest and the noblest means. Knibb's part in this 
achievement will place him in history by the side of Buxton, 
Wilberforce, and Clarkson. 

Mr. Knibb was subsequently three times in England : at 
the Anti-Slavery Convention, in 1840; at the Jubilee of the 
Society, in 1842; and on behalf of his sufiering brethren, 
in 1845. It is enough to say of these visits, that they were 
all undertaken for generous objects — for others, and not for 

His death strikes us as an event, not only sudden, but 
unexpected. No one had heard of his failing health. There 
is reason to believe, however, that his health had been 
failing, even antecedently to his last voyage to England. It 
is known to many that he was not well while he was here, 
nor was he so after his return. Close observers began to be 
fearful of him. He was carried off, however, by an attack of 
fever. Having baptised forty persons on the morning of 
Lord's day, the 9th of Novembei-, administered the Lord's 
supper in the evening, and walked home in the rain, he 
sickened on the following Tuesday, and on Saturday, the 
15th, he died. His last words, addressed to her who was 
most deeply interested in hearing them, were — " It is all 


The features of Mr. Kuibb's character were obvious, aud 
strongly marked. With a lai'ge stock of commou sense and 
sound judgment, he combined a high sense of justice and 
ardent generosity. If you add to these a constitutional 
energy approaching to vehemence, uudaiuited courage, and 
an almost boundless capacity of exertion, and view the whole 
as under the influence of sanctifying grace, you have the 
man before you. He was emphatically the man of action, 
and possessed immense tact in the management of affairs. 
His indignation at the perpetration of wrong burned like a 
furnace, his kindliness towards all, and especially towards 
the afflicted, glowed like the sun. Difficulties roused, and 
dangers never appalled him. He was made for the time and 
the place in which he lived. No man's heart could have 
been better fitted to appreciate the horrors of slavery, and no 
man's arm more effectually braced for its destruction. The 
lacerated negro could not have had a more tender friend, nor 
the long dominant race of slaveholdei's a more terrific adver- 
sary. In the pulpit and the pastoral chai-ge he was not less 
eminent than on the theatre of public affau's. " Never," says 
Mr. Tinson, " did he appear to more advantage than in the 
chamber of affliction." Nor was he less than usually lovely 
in the social circle, and in the family. His constitutional 
energy here manifested itself in the form of an inexhaustible 
vivacity, and his generosity in an aptitude to enter kindly 
into the feelings and interests of all. Terrific as he was 
when the lightning of indignation flashed from his eye, and 
the thunder of rebuke rolled from his lips, not a child need 
fear him; nor did any ever fear him but the perpetrators of 
oppression and wrong. And they, how could they love him'l 
In his presence they felt their wickedness both detected and 
reproved, and, as then- only possible emotion towards him 
was hatred, so was it their highest commendation of hinu 
Happily, however, enmity of this sort is transient; and now 
that he no longer lives to disturb them, even his enemies 
admit that he was a great and a good man. Not less, 
certainly, can be said in any quax'ter of one who, with no 
advantage from wealth or aristocratic connexion, without 
any aid from literary or scientific culture, and in defiance of 
many impediments, has, by his eminent exhibition both of 
the public and tlie private vii-tues, gained for himself a name 
in history, a rank among the distinguished men of his age, a 


place in the small but honoured band of genuine and disin- 
terested patriots. 

Such Avere the men we have lost, viewed separately and 
apart. Before turning our eyes from them, let us for a 
moment place them side by side, and compare them one with 

Our brethren were in many respects strikingly dissimilar. 
They were so in person. Knibb possessed a manly and 
athletic foi'm, with an open and ruddy countenance : the 
frame of Yates was comparatively small and devoid of mus- 
cular strength, his face pale, and of a prevailingly retiring 
expression. They were so in constitutional tendencies. Yates 
was for study, Knibb was for action : Yates Avas for trea- 
suring up in his mind the lore of other times and other 
tongues, Knibb was for pouring out the native treasure of 
a generous heart ujion suffering humanity. They were so 
in their position. Yates was placed in a region of calms, 
where, as, on the one hand, nothing arose to disturb his 
studious habits, so, on the other, the captivating stores of 
Oriental learning invited his assiduous application: Knibb 
stood in a region of storms, where human crime and wicked- 
ness had reached their climax, and the wild elements de- 
manded some master-spirit to confront and control their 
rage. They were so in the issue of their labours. To Knibb 
it was permitted to dry up a deluge of iniquity and wrong, 
by which everything precious to man had long been over- 
whelmed in a common ruin, and to create a new heaven and 
a new earth, verdant and serene; to Yates it was given to 
open the fountains of those living waters, which, flowing over 
arid and barren sands, should render them fruitful as the 
garden of the Loi'd. They were so in their end. Knibb, 
after a life of uninterrupted health, was cut off abruptly, but 
in the bosom of his famih^, his brethren, and his flock ; 
Yates, almost throughout life an invalid, and rej^eatedly on 
the border of the grave, died among strangers on the deep : 
a myriad voices poured out their heart-rending sobs over the 
grave of the one; over the watery bed of the other Avas heard 
nothing but the wailing of the tempest, or the gentler 
sighing of the breeze. 

But, thoiigh dissimilar in many respects, our departed 
brethren were not contrasted in all. They Avere one in sim- 
plicity of chai'acterj in kindliness of heart, in child-like piety, 


in profound devotedness. High energy and magnanimity 
characterized them both. If, borrowing an image from their 
respective localities, the one may be compared to the mighty 
river which eftects its tranquil but steady moA^ement through 
the vast plains of India, and the other to the impetuous 
torrent which sweeps like an avalanche from the mountain 
peaks of Jamaica, it may be said that they were both well 
adapted to the regions they were appointed to traverse, and 
that they have both flowed into an ocean in whose bosom 
their waters sliall sweetly commingle for ever. 

Such were the men we have lost. 

I. And great is our loss. They were not men of ordinary 
mould. Constitutional qualities like theirs are not of every 
day occurrence; and the high moral qualities by which they 
were distinguished are of still greater rarity. These elements, 
however, are far from constituting the whole of our loss. 
Our brethren had been long in the field, one twenty, and the 
other thirty, years ; and in this space of time they had made 
acquirements, and attained a position, of inestimable practical 
value. How admirably did Dr. Yates's stores of classical 
and Oriental learning, and his well-disciplined habits of mind, 
qualify him to pursue the work of biblical translation ! What 
extensive good might have been hereafter achieved by Mr. 
Knibb, in the influential and commanding position he had 
gained ! Fitness which it had taken a quarter of a century 
to acquire is extinguished in a moment ! The stei'n hand of 
death has laid these invaluable brethren low, even in the 
dust ! The place that once knew them shall know them no 
more. No more shall the successive pages of the Sacred 
Oracles be prepared by the hand, or corrected by the eye, so 
well qualified to render them instructive to the people of the 
East. No more shall the hills of Jamaica respond to the 
voice, or its people kiniUe with the ardour, of the man most 
loved and feared within its borders. Tlie fire of his zeal is 
quenched in death, and the thunder of his words is hushed 
in the grave. Alas, indeed, for the widows and the father- 
less, whom the stroke has bitterly bereaved ! But a far 
wider cu'cle bewails the fallen. Alas ! for the churches, and 
the missionary brethren, to whom Knibb was so invaluable 
a counsellor and friend ! Alas ! for the nations, for whom 
Yates was above all men fitted to kindle the light of life ! 
Alas ! for ourselves, to whom these men were, as far as men 


might be, a staff in either hemisphere foi' our hopes to rest 
upon ! Yes ! it is a day for sadness and lamentation. Come, 
ye bereaved families, ye fatherless and widows, who have lost 
a treasiu-e without a name ! Come, ye sorrowing flock, who 
have lost a pastor, and ye numerous ministers and churches, 
who have lost a brother and a friend ! Come, ye myriads of 
the enfranchised children of Africa, who have lost your 
noblest and your bravest champion ! Come, ye nations of 
the East, who see the cistern broken from which ye were 
beginning to drink of the water of life ! Come, join with us 
in tears ! How are the mighty fallen ! And at a period of 
life how early — Yates at fifty-three, Knibb at forty-two ! 
The one, it might have been hoped, not much past his prime, 
and the other in his very meridian ! Who shall take up 
their labours 1 Who can take them up ? Can it be less 
than the labour of another thirty years that can reproduce 
the skill and wisdom of Yates 1 Can any man ascend again 
the altitude from which Knibb has fallen '? 

II. If, however, our loss has been great, great, also, is our 
-reason for thankfulness. The measure of the loss we have 
suffered, is the measure, also, of the mercy we have received. 
To say that we have lost invaluable men, is at the same time 
to acknowledge that we have possessed them. We have pos- 
sessed them, the one for twenty, the other for thirty, years. 
And must we not be thankful '] Whence did they spring ? 
Who gave them to us? Their noble constitutional attributes, 
whence came they? And their high moral qualities, their 
deep humility, their unfeigned piety, their unblemished pu- 
I'ity, their i;ndying zeal, whence came these? Who kept 
them holy, while some fell by temptation ? Who kept them 
awake, while some fell into slumber ? O ! we acknowledge 
in them the grace of God ! They possessed nothing which 
they had not received. And we know from whence they 
received it. There is but one Giver of every good and per- 
fect gift, and to him be all the praise ! We are not, we trust, 
gloiying in men. We desire it should be as it is written, 
"He that glorieth let him glory in the Lord" (i Cor. i. 31). 
What we say is, that, having received such gifts, we have 
eminent reason to be thankful. We might have had men 
either of small powers, or of slumbering zeal, or of unstable 
piety. We might have had men whose death would have 
been a relief to us. Let us thank God for havins; conferred 


on U3 men whose loss penetrates our hearts with unutterable 

III. While, on the one hand, we are thankful, we must, 
on the other, he submissive. Having such men as these, 
doubtless we would fain have kept them. And we may, 
perhaps, be disposed to repine at their loss. But we must 
correct such a tendency. Although we possessed them, they 
were not ours. They were God's, given to us for a time, or 
lent rather than given. If he has taken away, he has only 
used his right. He takes but what he gave. Sovereignty 
is his prerogative, and submission oui" duty. And submis- 
sion, let me add, not in a grudging, Imt in a kindly spirit; 
not as of necessity, but willingly. The Disposer of events is 
wise and kind, as well aa sovereign, and knows when to take 
away, as well as when to bestow. Were we quei-ulous in this 
matter, he might well couch his rebuke in a question which 
has come do'WTi to us from ancient times — " Should it be 
according to thy mind?" We know it should not, and we 
must withdraw all pretensions to dictation. All things 
ought to be accordiug to his will; and we have only, in pro- 
found humility, to say, "It is the Lord: let him do what 
seemeth him good." We suppress, therefore, the nuirmuring 
thoughts which may have been too prompt to rise, and, in 
our sadness, say, Eternal Father, thy will be done ! 

IV. As we have no cause for repining, so neither liave we 
any cause for despondency. It is true, the brethren whose 
loss we deplore were eminently adapted to theii* work, and 
were pursuing a course of extensive usefulness. It is true, 
also, that their removal will sensibly diminish the amount of 
present effort, and throw at least a temporary feebleness 
into some important departments of exertion. The moment 
is a serious, and even an anxious, one, well fitted to bring us 
to our knees, and to keep us in an attitude of waiting upon 
God. It Ls a time for us to realize afresh our love to one 
another, and to bind ourselves anew to the cause of him who 
smites us. He hath not smitten us in anger, nor is he about 
to forsake us. He has shown \is too many tokens for good 
to allow us now to misti-ust him. He has taken valuable 
agents from us. But what then ] The cause of God is not 
dependent on such fluctuations. These are but the ripples 
on the surface of a stream, the current of which proceeds 
undisturbed in its course. Missionary labours were going on 

76 "the messengers of the churches, 

successfully before Knibb and Yates were born, and will 
continue to do so now they are in their graves. They were 
well-adapted and useful instruments, it is true. But whence 
did they arise 1 They sprang out of the common mass of 
mankind. No distinction attached to their birth or parentage. 
No signal jieculiarity distinguished their boyhood. One was 
bred a shoemaker, the other was apprenticed to a printer. 
Why, other such men may be, and doubtless are (if the 
familiarity of the expression may be excused), among the 
shoemakei-s and apprentice -boys of the present geueration. 
The net that jji-esents to us the most splendid tenants of the 
sea is cast but into the common deep. It is from among 
mankind, in the most comprehensive sense of that term, that 
God has taken the choicest instruments of his will; and, 
when any of these are done with, mankind remains to him, 
presenting in every generation an inexhaustible store of 
similar elements. To him there shall never be wanting a 
man to accomplish his purposes. His dealings, indeed, indi- 
cate that, in this respect, he is wealthy, and conscioiis of his 
wealth. When an instrument of peculiar fitness presents 
itself to us, we take jealous care of it, and sigh for its immor- 
tality. Not so with God. He often blends the most admi- 
rable qualifications with the greatest frailty, as thoiigh from 
the first these most beautiful specimens of his workmanship 
were destined to early destruction. And in other instances 
he permits those who appeared to be raised up for a special 
work, to fall speedy victims to dangers which others survive. 
It is not that he despises fit instruments; it is that he has 
plenty of them. He can dash the most exquisite of them in 
pieces, and yet he will have enough to efiectviate his designs. 
Or he can even work withoxit instruments, that is to say, 
without instruments of the class we admire. He can do 
more work by fewer and by feebler instruments. The success 
of labourers in the cause of God bears no fixed proportion to 
their qualifications. It is allotted in the sovereignty of 
divine goodness and wisdom. A larger measure of God's 
blessing may make any labourer more successful than he is, 
and a labourer of few qualifications more iiseful than one of 
many. He holds in his hands a right thus to pour con- 
tempt on the pride of man, and to vindicate his own honour. 
And in this respect Ave should be ready to yield to him the 
honour which is his due. His cause is to be promoted by 


whatever instruments he may be pleased to appoint. To its 
prosperity he is pledged, and he will be faithful to his word; 
but he is not pledged as to the means by which it shall be 
advanced. Goliath fell by a sling; Jericho was taken by 
rams' horns ; and the Midianites were vanquished by broken 
pitchers. Let the Lord work in his own way, and let no 
man's heart fail him if he should not array us to our mind 
with sword, and with spear, and with shield. 

V. If, however, the bereavements we now sufier create no 
occasion for despondency, are they not prefjnant vntli instruc- 
tion ? Have they not a meaning ? And should we not 
anxiously endeavour to understand and interpret them 
rightly 1 

There is undoubted wisdom and importance in these 
inquiries, and it is my desire to do them justice. Yet I am 
not disposed to indulge myself in an incautious answer to 
them. The interpi-etation of providential events is a critical 
and hazardous task. It is one in which we are very liable 
to err through our ig-noi-ance, to be biassed by our feelings, 
or to be misled by our imagination. Aiid in the present 
case there is, I think, peculiar need of caution. »We have 
lost within a short time two invaluable men, the chiefs in 
either hemisphere. Some, j)erhaps, might be disposed to say, 
this is a proof that we have idolized them, and God has thus 
rebuked our idolatry. But I am not ready to concur in such 
a sentiment. We may have idolized our departed brethren; 
and, if we have done so— let every man's conscience be the 
judge — their death is undoubtedly adapted to detect and 
chastise the sin. But there is nothing in their death, I con- 
ceive, to prove that we have idolized them. I should not 
have felt myself constrained to admit this, even if they had 
died at an age unquestionably premature. But what is the 
case now? One brother has worn thirty years in Bengal, 
and another twenty years in Jamaica. Spending life amidst 
toils like theirs, they must be held to have reached the full 
age of man. They could scarcely have lived much longer 
without a deviation from the ordinary laws of human exist- 
ence, that is to say, without a miracle. I see nothing, 
therefore, in these events, that gives them the character of a 
chastisement, or a rebuke. Whether their brethren idolize 
them or not, God's servants must die, and, unless they be 
exceptions to the general course of humanity, some of them 
must die young. 

78 "the messengers of the chubches, 

Nor do I think that, in point of fact, the brethren whose 
loss we de2:)lore have been, generally speaking, objects of our 
idolatiy. That they have been regarded with a sincere and 
cordial esteem is, I suppose, true — and so much was jnst; 
but our esteem of them has not been loquacious, nor, I 
hope, vain-glorious. That it was not excessive may be 
inferred with some probability from this, that the estimate 
formed of our brethren after their death is likely to be 
higher than that formed of them during their life, and that 
the strongest terms of eulogy are already employed, not by 
ourselves, but by others. I trust that, in this respect, God 
has not been displeased with us. My feeling is that we have 
rather erred in a defective estimate of his gifts. 

Do I then say that we are to learn nothing from these 
bereavements? By no means. 

The death of our beloved fellow-laboui-ers inculcates 
powerfully the general lesson, " Cease ye from man, whose 
breath is in his nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted 
of?" (Isa. ii. 22.) The proneness of the human heart is 
undoubtedly to the evil here indicated. In the missionary 
work, for example, tlte men ax'e the parties before our eyes, 
the actual workmen; and the work comes, by a natural and 
unpex'ceived association, to be in our minds identified with 
the doers of it. In the case of Dr. Yates, his health, so 
long feeble and so often interrupted, taught all his friends to 
hold him loosely; while the robust and hitherto unshaken 
health of Mr. Knibb, amidst scorching suns and unwearied 
labours, may have led us to calculate on a long continuance 
of his usefulness. Let us then learn the lesson that the 
breath of man, even of the strongest man, is in his nostrils, 
and that no account is to be taken of him as a source of 
permanent help. On one Sabbath he may be proclaiming 
with ardour the glorious Gospel to listening crowds; on the 
next, amidst the unrestrained wailings of crowds ten times 
more numerous, he may be laid in the gi-ave. Trust not in 
man. Trust in the Lord. He is the everliviug God, and 
in him is everlasting strength. ! how profound and 
inestimable a consolation it is, that the cause of Christ does 
not depend upon man ! He who laid the foundation of it in 
his death liveth for evermore, to secure its interests, and to 
conduct it to its triumphs. He is tlie same yesterday, and 
to-day, and for ever. The vicissitudes of mortal life affect 


him not. Ah ! were He to die ! But it is impossible. 
Death hath no more dominion over him. And in his life 
all is secure. For he must reign, until he hath put all 
enemies under his feet; and tlie pleasure of the Lord must 
prosper in his hands. Come hither, therefore, from the open 
grave where you weep so bitterly. Come hither, from the 
vacant pulpit, and the empty habitation, tliat you look on so 
wistfully. Look upwai-d.s, and heavenwards. There Jesus 
dwells, the refuge and strength of his people in every gene- 
ration. A fulness of power and grace is his, unexhausted and 
inexhaustible. Lean no more upon an arm of flesh, nor let 
the reeds, as they break, pierce your hands again. Turn 
away even from the youthful form and the s])arkling eye, 
which give a promise you are so ready to believe of pro- 
tiacted life. " Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his 
nostrils; for wherein is he to be accounted of?" 

Besides this general lesson, the bereavements we now 
lament inculcate one, perhaps, of a more limited and specific 
kind. They lead us, at all events, to a very touclung view 
of the missionary work. For they are far from standing 
alone. They are not so much deaths of individuals as 
deaths of a class, and of a class, unhappily, very large. How 
affecting, for example, is the following statement, given by 
Mr. Wenger, in communicating the intelligence of another 
recent loss, in the person of Mrs. Evans ! * " On the 4th of 
October, 1839," says this estimable brother, "just six years 
ago, and a few days after my arrival, I was present at a 
meeting of ten Baptist missionaries; viz., Yates, W. H. 
Pearce, Thomas, Ellis, Bayne, G. Parsons, Tucker, Phillips, 
Morgan, and myself; and Mrs. W. Pearce (now Mrs. Yates), 
Mrs. G. Pearce, Mrs. Penney, the first Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. 
Ellis, Mrs. Bayne, Mrs. Parsons, Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Phillips, 
and Mrs. Morgan, were then in Calcutta. Since then there 
have died Dr. Yates, Mr. W. H. Pearce, Mi-s. Thomas, 
Mr. and Mrs. Ellis, Mrs. Bayne, Mr. and Mrs. Parsons; and, 

* On the very day on which this discourse was delivered, intelligence 
arrived of another afflictive bereavement which has befallen the Society, 
in the removal of Mrs. Pearson, who has been for several years labouring 
in the educational department in the Bahamas. She died in the mission- 
house at Nassau, of yellow fever, on the 13th of November, 1845, two 
days only before Mi\ Knibb fell a victim to the same complaint in 
Jamaica. Both Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. Evans were invaluable mission- 
aries, and are deeply and extensively lamented. 


out of the twenty persons here enumerated, only eight are in 
India now." And that this is no new thing may be gathered 
fronji the following extract of a letter from one who has been 
engaged for a much longer period. "I have been in the 
field," says Mr. Thomas, "almost twenty years; and, oh! 
what scenes have I witnessed! I and George Pearce came 
out together, and joined the junior brethren, the honoured 
Yates, Pearce, and Penney. Now where are they, and theii" 
much-loved partners'? The fii-st Mrs. Penney has long since 
slept in the tomb; and there too I saw her excellent hnsband, 
and the lovely Pearce, laid. Over the first INIrs. Yates the 
waves of the ocean roll, and buried deep in the waters of 
the Red Sea lie the mortal remains of her beloved partner. 
One alone of the six endeai-ed friends who greeted oni- 
arrival remains, and she is clothed in the weeds of second 
widowhood. And of those who have since joined our band 
not a few have passed ofi" the stage. Anderson soon disap- 
peared. Ellis and his esteemed helpmate have entered into 
rest. George Parsons died in the country. Gibson was 
called away within a few months of his arrival ; while Bayne 
and Tucker were constrained to retvirn to their native land. 
As to myself, I have buried two wives, who were of the 
excellent of the earth, and four children; so that, both in 
my domestic relations, and in my connexions as a missionary, 
I have had repeatedly to drink of the cup of afiliction." 

I make no aj^ology, my brethren, for quoting these details, 
and I am sure you will require none. They exhibit the 
names of men, and of women too, who deserve to be held 
by lis in everlasting remembrance, and whom it is at once a 
duty and a gratification thus far to associate in this service 
with the honoured dead to whom it more dii-ectly relates. 
They are, moreover, necessary, in oi-der to present to us the 
whole of the case on which our attention is to be fixed. It 
is not merely that our brethren Knibb and Yates ai'e dead; 
it is that many others are dead also. And the general fact 
is, that the missionary work involves a large sacrifice of 
human life. It is too certainly a shortening of the days, 
and the path to an early grave. The commission is to 
labour, but the destiny is to sicken and to die. Nor is it a 
sacrifice of mere life that is thus involved in the missionary 
work; it is a sacrifice of the best and most valuable lives. 
Those who are sent on this errand are not ordinary men. 


whose place may be filled up by drafts at pleasure from the 
common herd. They are men of God. Nor are they men 
of common piety and endowments. They are, in some sense, 
the best of us. They are the elite of our churches, the ' 
anointed ones for the post of most arduous duty, the bi'ave 
forlorn hope of the host of God. In the contemplation of 
them "we involuntarily exclaim, would that thet/ could be 
immortal ! Or that, at least, their term of labour might not 
be prematurely closed ! But, alas ! they die ! How rapidly 
they are cut down! How often, how insatiably, the grave 
opens its mouth for them! 

I hope the tenor of these remarks will not be misunder- 
stood. They are not made in a spirit of repining. I am 
not making preparation to call in question the propriety of 
the missionary enterprise, or to justify the sounding of a 
retreat, even from its most perilous spheres. The battle is 
the Lord's. It is ours to move onwards at his call, and his 
to watch over the safety of his armed ones. They will be 
immoi-tal till theii' work is done. The lives so freely devoted 
to his service ai'e doubtless an offering of a sweet savour 
unto God, and the costly sacrifice will be amply compensated 
at the resurrection of the just. The view which I have 
taken, however, has two bearings. 

In the first place, the mortality incident to missionary 
labour ought greatly to endear to us those who embark in it. 
Whether at the outset they realize it or not, they go into 
thick dangers, and inevitable sorrows. Oiu* own lot contains 
griefs enough, but there are more in theii'S. Let us never 
fall to sympathize with them, to pray for them, to honour 
them. In their sorrows they lean iipon our kind remem- 
brance. " O ! my brother," says Mr. Thomas, in a letter 
already quoted, "these are strokes upon strokes. Pray for 
us, that our faith fail not." Which of us will not respond 
to so toucliing an appeal? And let us regard with similar 
sentiments those also, who, in parting with those they love 
for this work of the Lord, sufier scai'cely less — perhaps 
more — than they. Ah! my brethren! Talk we of contri- 
bution ? Hex'e are the gi-eat contributors to missions : these 
noble-minded parents, who, with profoundly-stu'red aflfections, 
contribute to it their sons and theii- daughters, and, in theii' 
persons, an amount of love, and toil, and domestic wealth, 
incalculable; and those consecrated youths, who, with fond 


82 "the messengers of the churches, 

hopes that would bud, indeed, under every discouragement 
— and it was well they did — went where they were too 
certainly destined only to be blighted, and to perish. The 
treasures respectively poured forth admit of no comparison. 
We give money; they give heart, soul, life, kindred — all, 
that money never could have bought, and never can repay. 

Secondly, the mortality incident to missionaiy labour must 
inspire an earnest wish for the gro^vth of an effective native 
agency. It is European life that falls. The unaccustomed 
climate is the fatal element. The native preacher attains 
the full length of his days. O ! could we see churches once 
planted sustained by the ministry and care of native con- 
verts, how much might the constant demand for Eui'opean 
missionaries be lessened, and the afflictive costliness of our 
efforts, as now conducted, be reduced ! 

I am well aware that, in expressing this desire, I am 
simply uttering from this place a sentiment which has been 
often breathed elsewhere, and one which has been cherished 
by none more warmly than by our missionaries themselves. 
I know that strenuous efforts have for years past been made 
in both hemispheres to prepare native converts for ministerial 
employment; and I certainly can give no sanction to an idea, 
if such an idea be entertained in any quarter, that the 
missionaries in either hemisphere have intentionally done 
less in this department than they might have done. I 
believe them when they say that they have done, and that 
they are doing, their best. And I take the result to be as 
they state it, that native converts may be usefully employed 
under European superintendence, but that they cannot 
satisfactorily be left to work alone. It is this statement on 
which I pause. This perpetual requirement of European 
superintendence at every station — I say jierpetual, because 
at present no prospect of its termination is indicated — is a 
grave element in the missionary question. It attaches a clog 
to the whole system. Could our messengers, Avheu they had 
planted churches in a country, confide the local interests of 
Christianity to their care, they might proceed to contiguous 
lands, and j^reach the Gospel in the regions beyond them. 
In this way, in a comparatively short period all the nations 
might hear, and the world, with the seed of the kingdom 
thus sown broadcast in it, might be prepared for that 
heavenly rain which shall render the whole fruitful and 


verdant, as the paradise of God. Biit, as the case stands 
now, the world cannot be reached. Missionaries plant 
churches, and live and die the pastors of them. And not only 
so, the next pastor, and successive pastors without a prospect 
of limitation, must come from England. A missionary 
society becomes thus no longer an aggressive, but a station- 
ary, body. Its whole resources are spent upon the lield it 
occupies, and, unless by some convulsive effort, it can do 
nothing with the desert beyond. It may be true that the 
resources of missionary societies may, and should, be much 
larger than they are ; but no one will maintain, I imagine, 
that, by any conceivable augmentation of them, the world 
can be covered with the knowledge of the Lord on the 
present system. 

And, as the constant demand for European superintendence 
attaches a clog to the modern missionary system, so the same 
feature places it in contrast with the missionary system of 
ancient times. The work and object of a missionary are as 
nearly apostolical as anything now in existence. But the 
apostles planted churches and left them, after, at the longest, 
a few years, contenting themselves subsequently with an 
occasional visit, a letter, or the mission of a fellow-labourer 
to set in order that which was wanting. How little could 
Paul have done, if he had been always wanted at Philippi ! 
How little, indeed, the whole band of disciples, if every 
Gentile church had required a succession of pastors from 
Jerusalem ! 

I am ready to admit that the apostles were inspired men, 
and that the age to which I am refemng was that of 
supernatural gifts ; but I do not think that either of these 
circumstances touches the question. It was by the power of 
the Gospel, not by the authority of an inspired man, that 
sinners were converted ; and the absence of supernatural 
endowments may be deenied amply compensated for by the 
possession of the sacred Scriptures. Nor can I take into 
consideration any differences, real or imaginary, either 
between the condition of the pagans of the Roman world 
at the commencement of the Christian era, and that of the 
pagans of the world in any part of it now; or between the 
character and adaptation of those who might respectively be 
called to sustain the pastoral office at either period. The 
necessity and sufficiency in both cases of the influence of 

84 "the messengers op the churches, 

the Spirit of God, annihilates all differences. Without the 
Holy Spirit, what was effected could not have been done 
then ; with it, the same things may be done now. And the 
same things must be done now, if the Gospel is to make any 
perceptible approach to that rapidity of movement which 
is indispensable, at some period or other, to its predicted 

If I am asked whither these obser\'ations are bearing me, 
I answer that they land me in one of two conclusions. 
Either more might safely and advantageously be done than 
is done by missionaries, in placing native converts in spheres 
of indej)endent action ; or God is not pleased to give, at the 
present time, such a kind and measure of success to bis 
Gospel among the heathen as affords a near prospect of its 
universal prevalence. In wliich of these conclusions to rest, 
at present I know not ; but I see no refuge from one or the 
other of them. In either aspect the subject is of the deepest 
importance, and I commend it to the most seiious and 
prayerful consideration of my brethren. 

VI. Whatever light these thoughts may shed on oiu- 
missionary undertakings, the ivwiediate tvants of the field 
must he supplied. These, at the present moment, on the 
continent of India more especially, are of extreme urgency. 
From that quarter the cries for help are loud, incessant, and 
distressing. In that region invaluable labourers have fallen 
in rapid succession. Their work is done, and we may not — 
we would not — recall them from their reward. But the 
work is not done for which they lived. On the contrary, 
"there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed." Who 
will devote himself to the conquest of it 1 In earthly war- 
fare, so soon as the front rank is broken one from the rear 
immediately fills up the gap. Is there less courage in the 
heavenly war 1 The thinned and son'owing legions of the 
Lord cry ou.t plaintively, Send us reinforcements ! Will no 
one go to their aidi " I fear," says one of them, " it is this 
mortality that keeps many good men and women from offering 
themselves." Tell me, disciples of Jesus, is this fear just? 
And he who, having laid down his life for us, and having, 
in all ages hitherto, had followers who were willing to lay 
down their lives for him, is he now for the first time to find 
his standard deserted 1 You would live long 1 Then be a 
missionaiy ! Knibb lived longer in twenty years than other 


men live in a hundred. You would live happily? Then be 
a missionary ! After all his toils, the dying Yates exclaimed, 
" If I had a thousand lives, I would willingly .sacrifice them 
aU for him who loved me." 

Come ! but act under no momentary and evanescent 
excitement. Bring to the work no unhallowed fire. Kindle 
your devotedness at the altar of God. Come in the spirit of 
a sacrifice, that nothing may take you by surprise. Bring 
us no unsanctified passions, no habits of self-indulgence, of 
self-seeking, of self-will. Be such as the work demands, and 
then devote yourselves to it. Become our messengers to the 
nations. And, when, at your Master's bidding, you shall 
have entered into rest, our children shall embalm your names, 
as we do those of the loved departed to-day. 

In conclusion, it is an afiecting consideration to me that, 
in dischai-ging the solemn duty of this evening, I stand 
where about six months ago I stood, in delivei-ing to 'Mr. 
Knibb a valedictoi'y addi-ess, and where he himself stood, in 
uttering what may be regarded as liis last words to an 
English auditory. He concluded that address by recom- 
mending to all, and especially to the young, the service 
of the Saviour. It is the very thing he would have wished 
to do, dear friends, had he known he should address you no 
more. It is the very thing he wou^ld wish to do, if he might 
now speak to you from heaven. And what a new argument 
could he now employ ! Then he spoke of the sweetness of 
the cross ; now he could speak of the glory of the crown. 
Ah ! my friends, did those melting accents, the tones of 
wliicli seem still to rest upon the ear, win you to the Saviour? 
If not, listen to the more touching eloquence of his death ! 
There shone the simple hearted Christian.. "A guilty, weak, 
and helpless worm," said he, " on Jesus' ai-ms I fall." It is 
your infinite mercy that in this respect you may imitate 
him, and it is indispensable to your happiness that you 
should do so. Be entreated. With him embrace the 
Saviour; with him devote yourselves to his sei-vice ; that 
with him you may hereafter rest, among the spirits of just 
men made perfect, in the presence of the Lord. 


"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of liis saints." — Psalm 
cxvi. 15. 

If tlie death of others affects us as it ought, my bi'ethren, 
it makes us mindful of our own. For death is an event 
which must happen to us all. "It is appointed unto men 
once to die." And, as we see others sicken and die around 
us, it should make us call this ordination of divine Provi- 
dence to remembrance, and lead us to idealize the truth that, 
some day or other, and perhaps before long, some malady, 
more or less similar, will bring us also to the gi-ave. We — 
the young, the healthy, tlie busy, the forgetful — we are to 
lie upon the sick and dying bed. The pallid countenance, 
the languor, the debility, the pain, and the various elements 
which constitute the dying strife, all these, in some form or 
another, are for you, dear brethren, and for me. 

These are things, indeed, of which we are apt to think 
little and seldom, but of which we should not be quite for- 
getful, so often as we see them actually occurring around us. 
The events we witness of this class, if they Avere to make 
us mindful of our latter end, would but help us to secure a 
great and solemn interest. Even if those who have to die 
could live as though no such prospect were before them, that 
would be but a sort of madness. Death is an event too 
solemn, and too deeply implicating our interests for time and 
for eternity, to be wisely put oiit of remembrance. We 
cannot live well if we forget we are to die. 

I know, indeed, that a frequent remembrance of death 
has a tendency to disturb our tranquillity. It is adapted to 
pi'oduce in the mind uneasy thoughts, and to set on foot 
anxious inquiries. But, my brethren, we who have an 

* Preached at Abingdon, December 6th, 1846, on occasion of the death 
of Mr. Benjamin Williams. 

god's cake of his saints in death. 87 

interest in Christ and his salvation, know assuredly how to 
set all these anxieties at rest. "We ought to transfer un- 
settled and uneasy sensations of this sort to the worldly and 
the careless. They, indeed, cannot think of death without 
dread ; but surely we may. All the great questions connected 
with death are well determined for us by faith in a living 
Saviour; and as for that which may yet create anxiety to 
the Christian, the sentiment which the text presents to us is 
well adapted to relieve us from its disturbing power. " Pre- 
cious," says the Psalmist, "in the sight of the Lord is the 
death of his saints." "We look, perhaps, into the dim and 
impenetrable future, fain timidly to inquire when, and where, 
and how, we shall die; by what malady, amidst what circum- 
stances, with how much suffering, and, above all, with how 
much hope : and because we can answer none of these questions 
we are anxious, and it may be more than anxious — disconso- 
late. Yet let us recollect ourselves. "Precious in the sight of 
the Lord is the death of his saints." What is concealed from 
us is known to him ; what is uncertain to us is regulated by 
him; what is so deeply interesting to us is cared for by 
him. Nothing shall be forgotten that either our safety or 
our comfort requires. 

" Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his 
saints." The sentiment is a general one. It is of this tenor 
— that the care which God exercises over the whole progress 
of his people he exercises also over their dying hour. The 
Psalmist does not here separate the period of death from the 
rest of a Christian's course. He does not say — " Precious iu 
the sight of the Lord is the death," and only the death, " of 
his saints." Their life also is precious to him in all its parts, 
and he is ever ready with his help in all their hours of trial 
and grief. The idea is, that the cai'e which God bestows 
upon his people in all their other circumstances spreads 
itself also over the dying hour. Not less precious in his 
sight is their deatli than is their life. The sentiment thus 
taken is highly consolator'y. We are comforted in knowing 
«— we rejoice to know — that he who careth for the sparrows, 
and feedeth the hungry lions, careth for us also, and far 
more tenderly than for them. Our waking and our sleeping 
hours, our seasons of sorrow and of joy, oiu* times of sick- 
ness and of health, are all under his wise and gracious 
arrangement. Now we extend, and we are warranted to 

88 god's care op his saints in death. 

extend, this idea to the period of our dissolution. He who 
careth for us in life, caretli for us in death also. That 
cannot be a time excepted from his uniform love. He who 
by his presence cheers and animates us while we live, will 
by the same blessed presence cheer us when we die. And 
this might be enough for us. The grace we live upon, can 
we not likewise die upon if? Has not our experience sup- 
plied us with proofs enough of the all-sufficiency of our 
heavenly friend, to engage our confidence in liim when we 
walk through the dark valley that is before us? 

The idea, however, may be carried yet further. I think 
I am warranted in saying, not only that the same divine 
care and love which are exercised over us in life will be 
exercised over us in death, but that a i:)eculiar and pre- 
eminent care, something beyond all that we have experienced 
in life, will be vouchsafed to us in the dying hour. It 'is 
characteristic of God to proportion his mercies to our need, 
and to come most quickly at the loudest call. Now there is 
in the dying hour something adapted peculiarly to call for 
his presence and help. 

In the fii^st place, Death is a season of more especial 
sori'ow and suffering. 

Allowance being made for cases of sudden death, which 
seems to annihilate all pains of the class of which I am 
speaking, as it ordinarily approaches us death is preceded by 
disease. This is always more or less, and sometimes very 
largely, productive of pain, a full proportion of which at- 
tends the dying hour. But no sicknesses involve so much 
suffering as those which bring us down to the grave. Even 
if there be a small amount, or the total absence, of bodily 
pain, the feeling of being sick unto death is peculiarly and 
profoundly sorrowful. Sickness with hope of recovery is 
not to be compared with the exhaustion of expiring nature, 
the last sinking of the heart, and the dying moan. These 
are things which stand pre-eminent among human sorrows. 
But "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his 
saints." He who has been by onr bedside in other sick- 
nesses, will he be absent then? He who has comforted us 
in other sufferings, will he disappoint us when heart and 
flesh are failing? Is it not then tliat he will place underneath 
us most promptly the everlasting arm? 

But I refer not merely to bodily suffering. There is in 

god's care of his saints in death. 89 

the season of death a large amount of mental agony. The 
heart is then pierced to its centre. It is the time of separa- 
tion from friends whom we have dearly loved. It effects the 
dissolution of filial, parental, and conjugal ties, and rends, 
without sparing one, the heart's tenderest strings. Upon 
other occasions we may have been called to part with a 
single friend, or beloved member of the family ; but in death 
we have to pai't with all together, and to be stripped at once 
of all the relations which have been most interesting to us 
here. The name of husband, wife, child, are unknown 
beyond the grave. Death involves a separation, also, from 
all the scenes and objects with which we have been familiar, 
even from those in which we have been most deeply inte- 
rested. No more activity, no more society, no more pleasure. 
The sources of earthly gratification are then no longer avail- 
able for us. The sick heart turns away from all in iucvu-able 
sadness. And in this time of trial and sufiering without a 
parallel will the God of all comfort be wanting to our aid? 
Never was there a tear which he did not wipe away, never 
was there a grief wliich he did not alleviate; and, assuredly, 
he will be present with proportionate tenderness amidst the 
unprecedented suflferings of the dying hour. " Precious in 
the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." 

Secondly, Tlie season of death pre-eminently involves our 

Our secular interests are deeply involved in it. Our days 
may have been marked, perhaps, by industrious toil for the 
support of ourselves and of those dejiendent upon us, or, 
pei'haps, by domestic cares and anxieties; but, whatsoever 
may have been effected by us in life, in death all is at an 
end. The tenderest mother can care for her children no 
more; she has to resign her gravest duties into the hands of 
others, whom, perhaps, she knows not. The industrious man 
can toil no more, and those who for theii; daily need may 
have long looked up to him must now be dependent on 
strangers. All the anxieties of life gather round about the 
deathbed ; and there is, perhaps, more to be done, arranged, 
and disposed of in the parting hour, than there has been at 
any other moment. 

Death is a period of still deeper importance to us in relation 
to our eternal interests. At that hour, all the gi*eat ques- 
tions of a spiritual kind, which may have been more or less 


undecided during life, are brought to a crisis, and determined 
for ever. Then the character receives its final stamp of sin- 
cerity and truth — then the conflict which has long been 
waged comes to its conclusive issue, and the triumph is won 
— then the fears are disappointed, the hopes are realized, and 
the long struggle which they have maintained in the heart is 
terminated. It is the time of entrance into the unseen and 
eternal world. Then the Christian goes into the dark valley, 
to encounter all its terrors. Then he steps from earth to 
heaven. Then he passes into regions of glory hitherto un- 
seen, and mingles with blessed associates Avhose majesty has 
not been conceived. Then he enters on a state of expanded 
existence altogether unti'ied, and realizes sublime joys of 
which but dim intimations have been given. And shall not 
God be with him then 1 Will he be absent at the very crisis 
of immortal destiny? Shall thei-e be no heavenly companion 
in that dark valley where there can be no earthly one] Will 
not God guide the ascending spirit heavenwai'd, and speak 
courage to the heart amidst new and unimagined glories '^ 
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." 
He that would not let them take a step unaided through all 
their pilgrimage, shall he not cheer by his countenance their 
arrival at their everlasting home 1 

Thirdly, The season of death requires a peculiarly vigorous 
exercise of Christian character. 

The graces of the Christian are of no trifling energy, as 
exercised amidst the various trials and duties of life; but 
they require to be exercised with far greater strength when 
we come to die. It is thus with faith. It is a great thing 
to commit the sotil into the hands of Jesus Christ with such 
views of eternity as we get while living ; but it is a still more 
solemn thing to commit our souli^ to Christ with the thoughts 
which occupy a dying hour. When the eternal world is 
near, and all it« awful realities are presented to us with 
vividness — then to cast ourselves on Jesus Christ with firm- 
ness, simplicity, and joy, and to feel that, having done it, we 
can venture with full hope into the eternal world, this is 
faith indeed. 

It is thus with resignation. Now we resign our treasures 
singly, but there is not one earthly treasure which mi^st not 
then be parted with. The heai't's firmest and tenderest grasp 
of all we have loved so well must be relaxed, aud "vre muf^t 


pass from the world destitute, and without a portion, save as 
we can call the Lord himself our friend. Oh ! what submis- 
sion to God, what absorption in his Avill, must be exercised 
by a Christian then ! 

It is thus witli hope. The eye of hope is already fixed on 
the things which are above, and ti'ansmits to the inner man 
beams of glory not unfelt by the kindling heart; but how 
much of its more animating influence will be required in 
death ! What firmness, brightness, rapture, to make ap- 
proaching heaven supply the place of retiring earth, and to 
prepare the departing spirit, not merely for a willing, but a 
joyous flight ! 

It is thus with love. We love, even now, an unseen 
Saviour, but we are easily reconciled to a protracted absence 
from him. What should love become when we are about to 
be introduced into his i)resence, and when we' should be 
found desiring to depart, because it is far better ! What but 
transporting love can extinguish all reluctance, and supply 
the wings on which our souls shall ascend to the abodes of 
bliss 1 

Ah ! my dear brethren, these are exei'cises of the Christian 
character to which we have never yet been called. No 
circumstances in life demand them at our hands; but death 
will demand them, if we are to quit this world either happily 
to ourselves, or honom^ably to God. And hence there is 
great grace wanted for the dying hour. But will not God 
help us to die? He who has said, "As thy days so shall thy 
strength be" (Dent, xxxiii. 25), and who knows what the 
dying hour demands, will he not give the necessary strength? 
He will, for it is written, "Precious in the sight of the Lord 
is the death of his saints." 

Fourthly, The season of death, while it ivill require inuch 
of us, %i)ill require it under circumstances of 2>sculiar weak- 

Then the body is weak, and with the body the mind. 
Hence the aggravated folly of persons who put oS" religion 
to the dying hoiu'. The condition of the body depresses and 
enfeebles the mind, so that, although they would have had 
physical strength enough, if they had been pious, to exercise 
piety, they have not strength sufficient to exercise repentance. 
Then they say truly they cannot think, their strength of 
nrind being gone with the strength of the body. The Cliris- 


tian, also, when tlie languor and drowsiness connected with 
disease, and attending the dissolution of nature, affect the 
soul, feels that he can think but little, and act but feebly. 
In these circumstances of great weakness, however, he has 
to act a most important part. Although he is dying, he 
needs his graces in peculiar vigour, and thus the largest 
demand is made iipon him in his greatest feebleness. But 
he that " knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are 
dust," shall he not be then our refuge and our strength? 
Shall he not in dying weakness make the omnipotence of his 
grace the more illustrious 1 " Precious in the sight of the 
Lord is the death of his saints." 

Lastly, In death we are esjiecially liable to spiritual con- 

There is an adversary who is watching always for oppor- 
tunities ta do us injury. He takes delight through the 
whole period of our life to assail us, and would, if he could, 
disappoint our spiritual hopes. No doubt, he closely watches 
the deathbed. How many instances have been known of 
evil thoughts and temptations suggested to the dying Chris- 
tian, showing that the tempter does not fail to take ad- 
vantage of what he may think a favourable opportimity of 
effecting his design ! He knows that, if we pass that hour 
in safety, all is safe, and that, if we get beyond the boundary 
that divides time from eternity, there is no more scope for 
him; he watches the deathbed, therefore, as the last chance 
of attaining his object. And so the Christian has to die, not 
in circumstances of unwonted tranquillity, but of unwonted 
peril. He has to die in the presence of a cmel enemy, 
concentrating all his art and energy for a last assault. But 
he that has conquered for us, and has hitherto made us 
conquerors, will be present in that last conflict too, and will 
not abandon us to the malice of the adversary. It is, in 
truth, at this very time of critical strife that Satan shall be 
bruised under our feet. " Precious in the sight of the Loi'd 
is the death of his saints." 

See now, my brethren, the conclusion at which we arrive. 
The season of death makes a louder call than usual on God's 
interposition, inasmuch as it more peculiarly needs it; I 
argue, therefore, that you may depend upon it with the 
greater ceiiaiuty. If it were possible that we should ever be 
forgotten, it should be somewhere in life, but surely not in 

god's care of his saints IK DEATH. 93 

death No, not in death— where the floods of sorrow are 
deepest, and the assault of the adversary may be sharpest; 
where duties are the most arduous, and strength the most 
exhausted; at once the valley of darkness, and the valley of 
decision in relation to our everlasting welfare. No, not m 
death. " Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death oi 

his saints." , . 1 1 i j. 

Dear brethren, these thoughts are highly consolatory, 
but, to realize the consolation they bring, two thmgs are 

^^7^ When we say that the care which God uniformly takes 
of us in life will be extended to the dying hour, our comfort 
from this thought lies in our consciousness of his present 
care Unless we realize the lovingkindness of God in lite, 
we know not what to expect when we die. In order to look 
cheerfully on death, therefore, it is necessary so to live as 
abidino- under the shadow of our Father's wmgs. To experi- 
ence the tender mercy of God in life, is the necessary ground 
and basis of a reasonable anticipation that we shall experi- 
ence it in death. Nothing beyond the realization we can 
give to God's present care can be transfen-ed to our dying 

T" When we say that the graces of the Spirit will be 
strengthened for the extraordinary exercise of them required 
in a dying hour, this implies their previous existence and 
exercise. For that solemn occasion they are not to be 
created, but only invigorated. The feeblest Christian shall 
then be made strong, as strong as his case demands; but lie 
who does not consciously exercise in life the graces ot the 
Chi-istian, how can he expect to be strengthened for the more 
vicrorous exercise of them in death? If we wish to look 
forward to the day of death with consolation, we must live 
as Christians. We may expect our graces to be strong lor 
that period onlv in proportion as we exercise them now. 
If, beloved brethren, you are thus living, on the one hand, 
. under the conscious care of your heavenly Father, and, on 
the other, in the constant exercise of the Christian graces, 
accept the consolation which our meditations are adapted to 
afford you. Try to divest yourselves of dread m the antici- 
pation of the dying hour. Endeavour to look on it with 
cheerfulness. Tme, you cannot escape it. You can neither 
control, nor ascertain, its details. But what then ? God your 


Fathei' has these things in his hands. Leave them with him. 
He will manage all wisely, and attend to all kindly. Let 
death come to yon when it may, and how it may; you can 
die like a Christian, if God he there. 

There would be weight in these considerations if no 
Christian had ever died, and if the sentiment they illusti'ate 
were altogether a matter of doctrine and theox'y; the doc- 
trine, however, is amply illustrated by fact, and the theory 
confirmed by experiment. Many a saint has died ere now, 
and found by experience that his death has been " precious 
in the sight of the Lord." What nniltitudes have borne a 
sunilar testimony ! How many have triumphed in the final 
hour, whose fears had previously been, not merely distressing, 
but almost overwhelming ! How many have died calmly, 
cheerfully, and triumphantly, of whose peaceful end no 
account can be given but this — " Precious in the sight of 
the Lord is the death of his saints" ! To this cloud of wit- 
nesses another is to be added in the case of our departed 

Mi\ Benjamin Williams, whose mortal remains a moiirning 
family yesterday consigned to the tomb, was born at Bampton, 
in Oxfordshire, in the year 1770, or 1771. When a boy he 
removed with his parents to Reading, and he was there 
apprenticed to the late Mr. Avery Benham, whose business, 
on the removal of that gentleman to London, he took. He 
was baptized, and received into the church in Hosier Street, 
in 1 791, when he was about twenty years of age, and he 
remained a member of the same church until his death, a 
period of fifty-five years. He sat under five successive 
pastors: — Mr. Davis, Mr. Holloway, Mr. Dyer, myself, and 
Mr. Statham. In his early life he was a frequent attendant 
on the ministry of the late Mr. Cadogan; he was, however, 
throughout the whole period, a warmly attached member of 
the church to which he belonged. Taking a uniform interest 
in the proceedings of the body, he was eminently punctual in 
his attendance at church meetings; and he was always ready 
to labour, when labour was wanting, for the advancement of 
its welfare. He took an active part in the successive 
enlargements of the chapel in Hosier Street; and, when the 
chapel at King's Road was built, his attention to its erection 
was as assiduous as if the house had been his ov/n. He 

god's care of his saints in death. 95 

manifested a peculiar attachment to the early Sabbath 
morning prayer-meeting, which for many years he conducted 
with exemplary punctuality and fervour. In the year 1831 
he was chosen a deacon of the church; and he filled this 
office honourably and usefully for about fifteen years. 

He was a man of strong understanding. Although not 
liighly favoured with early education, or with subsequent 
mental culture, he acquired a large amount of practical and 
valuable knowledge. He was a man of unblemished integrity. 
He was frank, open-hearted, generous, and hospitable. He 
was an affectionate parent, and steadily devoted to the ad- 
vancement of his children's welflire, temporal and spiritual. 
He was to me a personal friend, and a nobler or more gene- 
rous one I never had. He displayed much public spirit, and 
took an interest in all that concerned the temporal welfere 
of his fellow-men. At the commencement of the Mechanics' 
Institution formed in Reading, he was chosen its president; 
and he was, throughout life, an ardent and consistent friend 
of liberty, both civil and religious. 

If, in common with all men, he had his faults, it may 
be truly affirmed that these were not inconsistent, either 
with the sincerity of his piety, or his general nobleness and 

Some years before his death he gradually retired from 
business, and about fourteen months ago he removed to the 
residence of his sister, Mrs. Leader, at North Court, near 
this place. The opportunity for afiectionate intercourse 
which this arrangement afforded, was to both a source of 
much gratification and comfort. 

His latest days were marked by an evident ripening for a 
better world, which, indeed, had been observed in hini from 
the period of his retirement from business. His last illness 
was short, and a fatal termination of it was not anticipated ; 
it was, indeed, expected that he would recover till within a 
few hours of his death. He was seized on Thursday, Novem- 
ber the 26th, and for two or three days he suft'ered excruci- 
ating pain ; his mind, however, was tranquil, and sweetly 
occupied with anticipations of those unmingled joys which 
could not be for distant. He realized, and expressed, a firm 
reliance on the blood of Christ. When his end evidently 
drew near, he took a solemn leave of his relatives, whom he 
gathered round his bed for the purpose. Almost his last 

96 god's care of his saints in death. 

words were, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in 
peace." He died in the afternoon of Tuesday, December 1st, 
in his seventy-sixth, or seventy-seventh, year. 

To you, dear friends, Mr. Williams was but little known; 
but one who was born and bred among you comes now, in 
her widowhood, to ask a grave at your hands. Her language 
is, " Make room for me, that I may bury my dead." 

Dear mourner ! may the Lord, whom you have long known 
and trusted, be the portion of your remaining days ! Pleasant 
to you, in join- latest years, be the affectionate attentions of 
the dutiful children who surround you ; and salutaiy to 
children's children be the counsels you may yet be permitted 
to impart to them ! 

To you, dear friends, who form so large and so interesting 
a group around a father's grave, and do yourselves honour 
while rendering a tribute of warm affection to his memory, 
what shall I say 1 You have been to me more as brothers 
and sisters, than as friends. I have seen most of you rise 
through the periods of childhood and of youth. Some of you 
I have baptized, some of yoii I have married, some who were 
once of your number I have laid in the grave. And now 
you are occupying imjjortant stations in life, and, in some 
instances, are become heads of numerous families. What 
shall I say to you at the tomb of so revered a parent] 
Imitate his virtues ; above all things, imitate his piety. 
Some of you are professors of religion, and I should rejoice 
to know that you all were so; but I do not set it down that 
only those who j^rofess religion are possessors of it. O be 
Christians indeed ! This was for you his great desire. What 
comfort could you have had over a father's grave, if he had 
not been such 1 By all the preciousness of this consolation 
to yourselves, I charge you to secure it for your children. 

Yovi see what life is, even at the longest and the best. If, 
like your revered parent, you should be permitted to run 
through all its stages, and to accomplish all its toils, and to 
see around you, not your children only, but your children's 
children, it will be with you, as it has been with him, but a 
jiassage, and a swift one, to the grave. Even on this suppo- 
sition, the earnest voice of wisdom is, " Live for eternity — 
for heaven !" But the events of your family history must 
have warned you against illusory anticipations. Some of 

god's care of his SAIXTS IX DEATH. 97 

your flither's children have gone to the tomb before him, and 
other.s may quickly follow him. O that one common hope 
may be the blessed privilege of you all, and therein a prepara- 
tion for those solemn separations, which, come when they 
may, are but preludes to the happy reunion of all who love 
the Saviour, in his everlasting presence and glory ! 


I TURN aside, dear bretlaren, on this occasion, from the 
series of discourses on which we have been for some time 
engagedjt at the call of divine Providence, in the almost 
sudden and very aflfecting death of our friend, Mrs. William 
Alcock. Less than two years ago did she enter into the 
conjugal relation ; and now, after a few days of severe 
suffering, she has been removed by God's mysterious and 
awful hand from the domestic scene which her presence 
constituted into an earthly paradise, leaving one to endure a 
sorrow he can never measure, and one — a lovely boy about 
twelve months old — to suffer a loss he can never know. 
Such an occurrence speaks aloud to the family in the bosom 
of which it has happened. They desire to hearken to the 
counsels of Christian wisdom which it suggests ; and we all 
may listen to such themes with profit. As the basis of our 
meditations, I take the following words : — 

"Then I said, I shall die in mt nest." — Joh xxix. 18. 

These words express the feeling of the ancient patriarch' 
in the time of his prosperity. 

" that I were as in months past, 
As in the days when God preserved me ; 
When his candle shiued upon my head, 
And when by his hght I walked through dai'kness ; 
As I was in the days of my youth, 
When the secret of God was upon my tabernacle ; 
When the Almighty was yet with me, 
When my children were about me ; 
When I washed my steps with butter, 
And the rock poured me out rivers of oil ; 
When I went out to the gate through the city ; 
When I prepared my seat in the street ! 

* Preached at Devonshire Square Chapel, November 24th, 1850, on 
occasion of the death of Mi-s. William Alcock. 
t A Series of Discourses on the History of Christ. 


The young men saw me, and hid themselves ; 

And the aged arose, and stood up. 

The princes refrained talking. 

And laid their hand ou their mouth. 

The nobles held their peace, 

And their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. 

When the ear heard me, then it blessed me ; 

And when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me ; 

Becaiise I delivered the poor that cried, 

And the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. 

The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me ; 

And I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. 

I put on righteousness, and it clothed me : 

My judgment was as a robe and a diadem. 

I was eyes to the blind. 

And feet was I to the lame. 

I was a father to the poor ; 

And the cause which I knew not I searched out. 

And I brake the jaws of the wicked. 

And plucked the spoil out of his teeth. 

Then I said, I shall die in my nest." y , ,„ 

The sentiment wliich thus anticipates the permanence of 
existing prosperity is not unnatural. It may be said, per- 
haps, to be, in the fii'st instance, rather a wish than an 
expectation ; a wish, however, which practically ripens into 
an expectation, through the power which our desii'es have to 
cause in us at least a partial blindness. What we do wish it 
is proverbially easy to believe. And hence the proneness of 
man's heart, in all ages, to suggest in prosperous times the 
language uttered by one who lived long ago, " My mountain 
stands strong, I shall never be moved." 

To no aspect of our condition does this sentiment attach 
itself so strongly as to domestic life. The warm affections in 
which the conjugal union originates, and the entire satisfac- 
tion and repose in which they issue, contribute to this result. 
All other pleasures have in them the partial, tlie temporary, 
the changeable ; they admit of degrees, and may become 
steps towards further successes ; but domestic affection at 
once absorbs the whole being, and occupies prospectively the 
whole life, knowing no time, and awaiting no change. And 
this sentiment becomes only the more strong when the family 
circle enlarges, and domestic sympatliies are multiplied. 
Then each is more important to the other than ever. The 
tenderness of the gentle and the help of the strong become, 
to our sense, indispensable complements one of another ; 


and, because neitlier can be spared, oui* fond hearts reckon 
that both will be continued. We make our nest all firm 
without and soft within, and tlien fancy we shall both live 
and die in it. 

It is, however, nothing more than a fancj^ While, on 
the one hand, the admitted frailty of human life supplies to 
us a general warning, what fearful and crushing events, on 
the other, bring home to us a sense of our danger ! Not 
only do the mournei's go about the streets, conveying to their 
long home the once adored idols of the domestic hearth, 
but scenes of recent gladness are darkened by an ever-brood- 
ing sorrow, and hearts lately bounding with joy are broken 
and inconsolable. 

The philosophy of the human heart is to ignore these 
facts, and to be deaf to these warning voices. In the reali- 
zation of such calamities we cannot be happy; let us there- 
fore turn away our eyes from them. When they come upon 
us it will be time enough to think of them; let us enjoy the 
jH'esent as we may, without marring our joys by anticipations 
so melancholy. To-day, at least, we are happy. And this is, 
perhaps, the best philosophy to which human nature, left to 
its own resources, can addict itself Why should it sponta- 
neously generate terrors which it cannot allay, or inflict upon 
itself one moment earlier than is inevitable wounds for wliicli 
it can supply no balm 1 

It is the prerogative of religion, however, to assume a 
difterent attitude, and to look upon the lot of man with a 
difierent eye. Her counsel is, Live near the grave. Ee- 
member your latter end. Realize the frailty of your choicest 
treasures. Be mindful every hour of the rapidity with 
which death may snatch them away from you. And she can 
reconcile such counsel with our happiness, and even make 
the observance of it conducive to our higher enjoyment. 

Does religion, then, suppress the gentler feelings, and 
make obdurate man's heart? Far from it. On the contrary, 
the very opposite may be affirmed. By the coiTuption of hu- 
man nature, its very springs of love, although not absolutely 
dried up, are at once diminished and jwisoned. An intense 
selfishness is thrown into man's heart, which renders him at 
once less apt to love, and more ignorant how to love aright. 
This is a mischief which religion rectifies. The generous 
and self-renouncing re-appear in the sanctified heart, and 


a thousand refinements of affection have birth there, by which 
its real pleasures acquire a tone far more elevated and intense. 
It may then be supposed, that the same element which 
enhances the joy of possession must aggravate the sorrow for 
its loss ; but, in truth, it is not so. Again the reverse is the 
tnith. If the Christian has the heavier burden to bear, he 
is better instructed how to bear it ; and, if his heart-strings, 
"vvhen swept by the hand of sorrow, vibrate to the touch with 
an unwonted tenderness, there will yet be found in the notes 
they give forth a tone of tranquillity and jjeace which none 
but the sanctified heart can yield. 

It is my present purpose to open to you the process by 
which this important and salutary end is secured. 

I. In the first place, it is in the nature of religion to 
create a superior affedion. Under its influence the eye is 
opened to the glory of God, and the heart is awakened to 
the importance of his love. A sense of distance from him 
becomes intensely painful, and reconciliation to him through 
Christ Jesus the chief and indispensable felicity. To be at 
peace Avith God, and to enjoy his lovingkindness — to love 
him, and to be loved by him — now constitutes the supreme 
good, in the possession of which the heart rests with absolute 
delight, as if perpetually repeating the language of the 
Psalmist — "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I 
will sing and give praise." 

It is too little to say that this aflfection is stronger than 
even the tenderest of the domestic affections. It is infinitely 
stronger. There is no proper comparison to be instituted 
between the excellences of the creature, whether i-eal or 
imaginary, and the glory of the Creator. To see God, is 
surely to contemplate a beauty which eclipses even the fairest 
works of his hands. To love him as he deserves demands 
the whole heart, and at once engages and fills it. 

The condition I am describing is not one m which the love 
of creatures becomes impossible. Far otherwise. It leaves 
uninvaded the proper sphere of the domestic afifections ; but 
it confines them to theii' proper sphere. It makes them 
secondary and subordinate. Without religion they are pri- 
mary and supreme. The heart that does not worship God • 
worships the creature, and puts an idol in the ])lace of the 
Deity. The jiosition which should be occiqiied by the divine 
being vacant, that Avhich is nearest to the di\'ine, although 


at an infinite distance, naturally usurps it, and becomes, what 
it was never fitted to become, and what it never can satisfac- 
torily be, the portion of the soul. 

From this unnatural force of unsanctified domestic affec- 
tions arises the excessive bitterness of their disappointment. 
Those who so love may well tremble at the perilous situation 
in which their affection places them. They have made to 
themselves gods of clay, and have identified their supreme 
happiness with the breath <that is in the nostrils. Their all 
is now embarked in a frail vessel of bulrushes, and is at the 
mercy of every wave. By the accidents which beset every 
step, or the diseases which impregnate every breeze, they 
may at any moment be spoiled of their entire inheritance; 
nothing being left to them but to cry, like Micah after the 
men who had robbed him of his teraphim, "Ye have taken 
away my gods, and what have I more?" 

From the approach of such terrors the man of smcere 
piety is hai:)pily secure. Calamity, indeed, may invade his 
dwelling, like other men's, and the desire of his eyes, as of 
theirs, may be smitten with a stroke; biit the stroke is not 
to him what it is to them. It will deprive him of a precious 
treasure, but it will not rob him of his all. It will touch 
him in a tender place, but it will not invade his most 
cherished love. His portion is the Lord; a portion all- 
sufiicient and everlasting, at once satisfying and secure. He 
will weep as other men weep, but he will not be in bitter- 
ness as other men are in bitterness, still less, as they often 
are, in despair. "I have lost a treasure," he will say, "but 
my inheritance remains; my creature love has been dashed, 
but my God abides; the cistern at which I drank has been 
broken, but the fountain ever flows." 

11. In the second place, while religion involves in its veiy 
nature the creation of a new and supeiior affection, it also 
unfolds a new and more important sphere of existence. It 
opens to the eye of faith the things unseen, and engages for 
them a fixed and influential regard. This, indeed, is one of 
the essential characteristics of a Christian, that he looks at 
the things which are not seen, and that he so looks at them 
that he may be said not to look at the things which are seen 
(2 Cor. iv. 18). Not, assuredly, that he treats the things of 
this world with an absolute disregard, since no man will be 
found, either more attentive to the duties, or more alive to 


the enjoyments, of the in-esent life, but he treats them with 
a relative disregard. Patting the two worlds side by side, 
the seen and the unseen, he beholds in the one the tempoi-al, 
in the other the eternal; and the comparison reduces the 
former to an all but utter insignificance. What is time to 
eternity, but a moment against endless duration? And 
what can all the interests of time be in such a comparison, 
but as those of a moment too? In such a view the great 
concerns of man are the concerns of his soul and his salva- 
tion; his deliverance from the ^\Tath to come; his peace 
with God; his title to heaven and meetness for it; his walk 
with God, and his hope of glory. True, he is yet a denizen 
of this world, and he cannot be wholly dead to its interests 
and affections; but he is a pilgrim and a stranger in it, and 
he is comparatively dead to them. He reads the instruction, 
" Brethren, the time is short : it remaineth that both they 
that have wives be as though they had none; and they that 
weep as though they wept not; and they that rejoice as 
though they rejoiced not; and they that buy as though they 
possessed not; and they that use this world as though they 
used it not" (i Cor. vii. 29-31): and, if not perfectly, yet 
in spirit and in substance, he acts upon it. 

Hence, as all the interests of time are subordinated to 
those of eternity, so, in common with the rest, are those of 
domestic life. And in this respect the man of piety stands 
broadly distinguished from the man of the world. Speaking 
of the lattei", we must say that he looks at the things which 
are seen, and not at those which are unseen. All his 
interests are temjioi-al; those of etemity, whatever be their 
com^iarative magnitude, affect him not. Hence temporal 
objects operate on him with a power altogether unchecked. 
He buys and sells, rejoices and weeps, marries and gives in 
marriage, as attending to the most momentous concerns he 
knows of, or regards; and, if in these he is thwarted, he 
sorrows with a proportionate intensity. He has made Ms 
household nest, and triumphs in its tenderness and beauty; 
but the ruthless hand of death spoils it of its most cherished 
tenant, and, in mingled anger and despair, he scatters its 
now hated fragments to the winds. " It was the only thing 
my heart was set upon," he exclaims ; " and life is worthless 
to me now." 

How different the Christian ! His heart, not less deeply 


wounded, could easily vent itself in utterance not less vehe- 
ment; but there is a solemn, yet kindly, resti*aining power. 
"I knew," he is prepared to say, "that I had here no 
continuing city. I am a pilgrim and a stranger, and in a 
very little while I, too, shall be gone. My ' light affliction ' 
is but for a moment, and then comes ' a far more exceeding 
and eternal weight of glory.'" 

III. In the third place, it is in the nature of religion to 
exhibit all our earthly pleasures in a new and more interest- 
ing light. 

Surveying the brighter aspects of his condition — his 
health, his wealth, his family and friends — it is in the heart 
of the worldly man to say, "This is mine; either my right, 
or my acquisition: and why should it be taken from me?" 
He thinks that God ought to give him health; he feels that 
he has obtained his riches by his labour, and even the con- 
jugal affections he enjoys by his assiduities; and he exclaims, 
" They are my own." 

On the other hand, the man of piety, sui'\"eying the same 
benefits, exclaims, " They are not mine, but God's. They are 
his gifts to me, vm worthy of the least of them: and I take 
them thankfully at his hand." 

This revei'ent and grateful recognition of God, as the 
giver of every good and perfect gift, and of those (now 
especially in view) which constitute the gladness of the 
domestic circle, at once enhances the pleasure of their 
possession, and relaxes the grasp with which they are held. 
Receiving them as of his donation, we at once perceive in 
them his love, and feel that we hold them during his 
pleasure. He that in sovereign mercy gave, in sovereign 
wisdom may take away. He does but what he pleases with 
his own; and, assured as we are that, for his children, he 
will do all things well, it is at once our duty and our privi- 
lege to acquiesce in his will. How, indeed, should we resist 
it, who have so often and so solemnly said to him, " Thou 
shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterwards receive me 
to gloiy"? How should we resist it, who know that the 
course he has marked out for us has been chosen by infinite 
wisdom and love? How should we resist it, who could find 
no other hands to which to intrust our affairs, and should 
not dare to take them into our own? No, my brethren. 
Tlj^ Christian in all tribulations has only to say, " My times 


are in thy hand." " Let the Lord do with me what seemeth 
him good" (Psalm xxxi. 15). 

And hence, even in the most painful bereavements, the 
Christian endures separation without the desperate struggle 
Avhich attends similar afflictions in the experience of the 
ungodly. They yield nothing, but hold their treasures with 
a tenacious grasp as long as it is possible. What they must 
part with is taken from them as by force, which prevails 
only because they cannot resist it. Not so with the Chris- 
tian. He gives up, as though it were at a request, the gift 
which God is pleased to resume. He entreats, but he is not 
rebellious. When his Father's will is made known, he com- 
plains no more. His language is, " If this cup may not pass 
away from me except I drink it, thy will be done." "The 
Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; and blessed be 
the name of the Lord" (Job i. 21). 

IV. In the fourth place, it is in the nature of religion to 
merge our domestic pleasures in a higher and more intense 
enjoyment. It is one thing to enjoy the creature, it is 
another to enjoy the Creator. The former has undoubtedly 
its sweetness, but the latter has a sweetness unspeakably 
superior. Now it is the privilege of a Christian to call God 
his own, and to enjoy the lovingkindness of the Lord as his 
continual feast. It is his privilege also, not only to enjoy 
God in himself by a continual afiectionate fellowship, but to 
enjoy God in his gifts by receiving them as expressions of 
his love. Viewed in this light, all the comforts by which 
we are surrounded are only so many manifestations to us of 
divine goodness, that is, of God himself as the fountain of 
good, and we behold in them both the gift and the giver. 
Two sources of gi'atification are thus opened to us at once; 
the one being the gift itself in its adaptation to our nature 
and circumstances, and the other the kindness of the 
heavenly Friend who bestows it. Now, of these two grati- 
fications, undoubtedly the latter is the most elevated and 
intense. That I have bread to eat is a pleasure; but in 
receiving that bread as from a Father's hand I find a much 
gi'eater pleasure. That my heart has been knit to a worthy 
companion in conjugal love, is beyond question a high 
felicity; but that in this best of earthly gifts I have a token 
of my heavenly Father's love, is to me a far higher delight. 
The enjoyment of the creature, therefore, is always the least 


part of the Christian's happiness; its great substance and 
power lie in the enjoyment of God in the creature. 

Now the enjoyment of God is, as a Christian's piivi- 
lege, indestructible and unchangeable. The channel through 
which it flows may vary, but the divine lovingkindness is an 
inexhaustible fountain, and has an uninterrupted stream. 
When it expresses itself in the bestowment of precious 
gifts, we enjoy it in them; and when it is manifested in 
their absence, or even in their withdrawment, we enjoy it 
without them : God in the creature, if creature good is 
ours ; God without the creature, if creature good be taken 
away. Thus, spiritually regarded, the domestic afiections 
constitute but one of many forms of the enjoyment of God, 
that great felicity, of which, although the accidents may 
vary, the substance remains unchangeable. 

It is far otherwise with the man of the world. The 
creature is his all. He possesses a domestic companion 
whom he loves, but nothing beyond ; and, when this 
jjerishable treasure decays, he loses his all. Death, when 
it invades his hearth, is not merely a change of forms, but 
a destruction of realities; not merely a variation of the 
pipes, but a breaking up of the cistern. It is for the Chris- 
tian alone to say in these tender bereavements, "My God, 
it was thyself that I most enjoyed in thy gifts; and thyself, 
though in other modes, I shall still enjoy." 

V. In the last place, it is in the nature of religion to 
diffuse its influence through two worlds, and to link time 
and eternity together. As it brings the commanding influ- 
ences of eternity to regulate our pi-esent conduct, so it 
cai-ries the influences of time into the world that is to come. 
Whether we eat, or drink, or whatever we do, as Christians, 
we do it to the glory of God, and thus on earth accumulate 
a treasure in the heavens ; for God is not unrighteous to 
forget our work and labour of love. ISTor, in truth, shall 
WE forget them. 

The great principle which connects the two woi-lds we are 
to inhabit together, is announced by the apostle in the fol- 
lowing terms: "Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he 
also reap" (Gal. vi. 7). The structui-e of the divine 
administration obviously demands the memory of present 
transactions as the groiindwork of our future condition; 
since without it there could be no judgment, no retribution. 


On the Supposition that the deeds were forgotten, there 
could be no significancy in the pleasures or the pains which 
might be hereafter annexed to them as theii- recompense. 
Accordingly, the scriptural representations of the future 
world are in all cases founded on the conception of a perfect 
remembrance of the works which are brought into judgment. 
But, if transactions are to be remembered, the recognition of 
the persons who have taken part in them seems necessarily 
to follow. Association is an essential element in our present 
condition, and the conception of it cannot easily be separated 
from our future one. It is in our companionships that much 
of our character has been developed, and by them that many 
of our motives have been supplied; and it does not seem 
possible that, in an isolated manner, due recompense can be 
made. As we have done evil or good together, so together it 
would seem that retribution must be suffered or enjoyed. 

This connexion between the pi-esent and the future world 
is in no respect more interesting than in its bearing on pious 
friendships, and, among these, it bears with especial force on 
the conjugal relation.. I am perfectly aware that this rela- 
tion itself, like the whole class to which it belongs, per- 
tains exclusively to the present life; since in "that world," 
according to the testimony of our Lord, "they neither 
marry, nor are given in marriage, but are equal unto the 
angels" (Luke xx. 35) : but, if pious friendships generally 
may be regarded as extending themselves to the world to 
come, surely this most intimate and tender of friendships 
must be so too. The deeply touching 6ccurrences of domestic 
life are undoubtedly among the very last which can be for- 
gotten, and the profound sympathies wliich they have called 
into exercise among the very last to be extinguished. If no 
longer I clasp one to my bosom as a wife, and others as my 
■ children, what difference will this change make to the recol- 
lection that we have prayed, and wept, and toiled together, 
pilgrims in loving company to the heavenly land? And how, 
without such recollections, can we bear to the footstool of the 
heavenly Father the grateful acclamations which are his duel 
Yes, my brethren, the pious friendship which may justly 
be regarded as involved in the conjugal tie when it binds 
cliildren of God together, is born for immortality. I speak 
of children of God, because I cannot conceive of the opposite 
case as leading to any other recognition than one of a melan- 


clioly and agonizing kind. But pious husbands and wives 
have surely within them the elements of an everlasting 
friendship, and may, in this respect, defy the grave. The 
tearful and expi-essive silence of the deathbed may, in their 
case, be interrupted by words of deep and triumphant glad- 
ness. "We part, my beloved; but not for ever. We part, 
but not for long. Nay, we part but for a moment, a little 
moment, ere we meet again. Our conjugal union expires, 
but our union of the soul survives; and an eternity is before 
us, in which our friendship shall expand, and minister to us 
ever new delights, in the presence and praise of him who 
hath made us heirs together of the grace of life." 

It is by the force of considerations like these, my brethren, 
that religion has power to reconcile our condition with our 
happiness, to allay the teri'ors which the frailty of mortality 
attaches to our tender affections, and to make it even condu- 
cive to our highest enjojanent to familiarize ourselves with 
the grave. Under the influence of such considerations I 
trust, my beloved friends, you have been enabled to meet this 
afflictive bereavement; and I pray that the consolations they 
are adapted to yield may be largely enjoyed by you. 

Mrs. William Alcock, whose affecting decease has given 
rise to these reflections, was the second daughter of Mr. 
John Southgate, of Old Change, in this city. Religious 
truth was instilled into her mind from her infancy. Re- 
siding at Pebble Coombe, abou^t six miles from Dorking, 
in Surrey, attendance on divine worship there was often 
attended with difficulty; yet did her youthful steps, in com- 
pany with two beloved sisters, cheerfully encounter the toil, 
and not without a blessing. At the age of sixteen she be- 
came a member of the Independent church at Dorking. So 
far as opportunity offered, she exerted herself in ways of 
religious activity and usefulness; and this moi'e especially 
during that portion of the year which the family sjient in 
London, where they enjoyed Christian fellowship at Surrey 
Chapel. On her marriage, in December, 1S48, her atten- 
dance was partially with the congregation in this place, and, 
had her life been spared, she would probably have entered 
more fully into communion with us. That she was emi- 
nently amiable and pious is the testimony of all Avho knew 
her — according to the extent of my acquaintance with her, 
I bear a similar testimony — and the warm affection she 


inspired in the several members of the family into ^^•hich 
she had entered strongly coutirms it. As a wife and a 
mother her conduct was truly exemp arj'. Her cai-e was to 
anticipate every want, and her hands were often found to 
have ministered to the gratification of desu-e before it could 

be expressed. ,, ^ „ . , 

But short was the chai-m which oxu- excellent friend ^^as 
permitted to spread over the domestic hearth, and hasty 
indeed was her summons to a difi-erent sphere. After a 
wedded life of only twenty-three months, her lovely course 
was most unexpectedly terminated by an illness of six briet, 
but sorro^vful, days. Suflering, not so inuch fi-om pain, as 
from a sense of extreme weakness, and of almost total inca- 
pacity for mental exertion, conversation was, for the most 
part, precluded; nor was it pressed by affectionate fi-iends 
ui>on her slmnbering powers, since no appi;ehension w^s 
entertained of a fatal issue of her malady. ^\ hi e in the 
enioyment of health, her habit had been so emmently devout 
—her Bible was her daily and constant companion— that - 
neither evidence of her piety, nor affirmation of her hope 
needed to be sought for in the period of her sickness; so that 
no alarm was created when it was foimd that the last enemy 
had made his approach 'unawares, alike to others and to 
herself, and that, if repentance had then been necessary, the 
mental power was wanting for its exercise. Happily for her, 
all that sickness requii-ed had in health been secured. Her 
thoughts, however, were of life, and of lining for God. At 
her desire, and with a painful consciousness on her part _ot 
the imperfect manner in which she was able to jom m it, 
domestic worship was conducted in her chamber. Little 
apprehending how very soon she would be called to part 
from them, she expressed on one occasion a touching jealousy 
lest her beloved husband and her darling babe should become 
her idols, and her feeKng that in this respect God was jea ous 
of his honour; adding her earnest hope that she should be 
enabled to train up her child for God-a duty now trans- 
ferred to another, but a scarcely less affectionate, hand. At 
times she repeated portions of the hymn whicj we have 
sung this evening, and which was, in health, often on lier 

lips: — . , r, J 

" for a closer walk with (jod, 
A calm and heavenly frame; 
A light to shine upon the road^ 
That leads me to the Lamb." 


During a passing gleam of consciousness in tlie forenoon 
of the day preceding lier death — the Lord's day morning — 
her venerable father said to her, "You love Jesus Christ?" 
to which she answered with promptness and fervour, "0 yes, 
father, I hope I do." The next retui-n of consciousness was 
for a single moment only — but a moment for which her 
sorrowing relatives are inexpressibly thankful; it was that 
in which she received, fii'st her father's kiss, then her hus- 
band's — and expired. "Was not her next greeting that of 
her adorable Saviour and her Lord 1 

Mrs. Alcock died on the nth of November, 1850, in the 
thirtieth year of her age; and was buried in the Cemetery 
at Norwood, in the family grave, in which, only two years 
before, the remains of her beloved mother were deposited. 
Not far were they divided in death; now are they for ever 
united in glory. 

So flattering and fallacious is the thought which antici- 
pates the permanence of our domestic joys ! "We say, " I 
•shall die in my nest;" but there is an awful, yet not an 
ungracious hand, by which our nest is broken up, and its 
tender pleasures turned into sadness. Wherefoi-e, my be- 
loved friends, but to diminish the force of our earthly attach- 
ments, to rouse our spiiitual energies, and to stir us up for 
heavenward flight 1 Let us understand and learn the lesson. 
This is not our rest, nor can it be. Our home is where they 
are gone who have left us, and beckon us to follow. What, 
then, remains, but that we be followers, with steady feet and 
joyful hope, of them who, through faith and patience, are 
inheriting the promises'? Wherefore, my bretlu'en, let us 
gird up the loins of our mind ; let us be sober, and hope 
to the end, for the grace which is to be brought unto us at 
the revelation of Jesus Christ. 


"AMien I thought to know this, it was too painful for me." — Psalm 
Ixxiii. 16. 

Knowledge is pleasant to the mind as light is sweet to 
the eye. And there seems to be full waiTant for this kind 
of enjoyment. The sun, with its glorious fires, is lighted up 
for the eye ; for the eye, also, the face of nature is illumined 
with its beams; and, in like manner, the universe seems to 
be outspread before the mind on pui-jiose to be known. At 
what point need the searching gaze of the eye be arrested ? 
Or where need intelligent scrutiny be stayed? Do not 
nature and providence coiu-t investigation, and recompense 
it with precious discoveries, ever new? Nay, more; a cease- 
less piii-suit of knowledge may be said to be obligatoiy. Our 
intellectual faculty is given to be employed, and it^ inaction 
would be as culpable as a voluntary blindness. Is it not in 
his works and ways that God makes himself manifest] And 
is it not our duty to trace him to the utmost, that we may 
recognize and adore 1 

There is, however, a limit to the pleasantness of know- 
ledge. Its pursuit may become to us even painful; in the 
words of our text, " too painful." What, for example, is 
moi'e pleasant than to survey the providence of God with its 
vast benignities? And yet God's providence has in every 
age exhibited some fearful aspects, forbidding too close a 
scrutiny, and throwing back even the most resolute inquirer 
upon the inscrutable pleasure of the sovex'eign Ruler. It 
was -with a problem of tliis sort that the Psalmist was en- 
gaged when he used the words before us. He " saw the 
prosperity of the wicked," and it troubled him. " When I 
thought to know this," he says, " it was too painful for me, 

* Preached at Exeter Hall, London, June 8th, 18.51. 


until I went into tlio sanctuary of God." In that position, 
the solemn retributions of anotlier world j^resented them- 
selves as counterbalancing the inequalities of this. 

Or take another illustration. What can be mox'e pleasant 
than to investigate the intellectual nature of man, his posi- 
tion, his prospects, and his destiny, under the government 
of Godi Or, peradventure, to take a still wider range, 
and grapple with the vast problem of being, and of the 
universe 1 Yet inquiries of this sort lead to dark and fear- 
ful issues. However clear the light may be which is thi'own 
ujjon matters of immediate moment, the speculative inquirer 
is soon introduced to profound questions and insoluble 
problems. Here, for example, is the outburst and prevalence 
of moral evil under the government of a wise and holy God, 
Here, again, is a vast amount of animal sulfering in the 
creation of a benevolent God. Here is a being of free and 
responsible agency under a system of eternal predestination 
and irreversible decrees. Here, moreover, are two worlds, 
the world within us and the world without xis — the subjec- 
tive and the objective; and no one can demonstrate the link 
that connects the two, or explain the process by which we 
take cognizance of the external world. Some tell us that 
the subjective is illusory, some that the objective is illusory, 
and some that both are so, all things being only modifica- 
tions of the Deity. 

At a period when, by the extended culture of a literary 
taste and of reading habits, the elements of speculative 
philosophy come to be widely known, difiiculties of this class 
have their influence, and, probably, a very considerable 
influence. They operate in two ways. Some are by them 
thrown into a state of genei-al scepticism. They are strong 
thinkers. They study hard. They can grasp nothing less 
than the problem of the universe, and they are resolved to 
find out the solution of it. They will know all things; and 
the obstructions they meet with, and the difiiculties in which 
their inquiries land them, annoy and vex them. " We 
thought," say they, " to know this," and we are sure we have 
brought to the ])roblem no mean jiowers, no insignificant 
industry; but we cannot, it is too high, "too painful," for 
us. To be thus shut up within a narrow circle of mystery, 
to be refused an answer to so many interesting questions, 
makes them almost angry. The language of their conduct 


is " We can do nothing, we will do nothing, tlux.s denied and 
embairassed, but struggle and complain." If we hold out 
the Bible to them, and say, Take counsel of this; they 
exclaim, "The Bible? Explain to us the mystery of the 

There are others who do not feel this influence so strongly, 
but who, nevertheless, are embarrassed and distressed by 
what they come to know, or hear, of the difficulties of specu- 
lative philosophy. It seems to them as though these loudly 
bewailed difficulties might involve some very important 
deficiency, if not one fatally injurious to truth, and duty, 
and human welfare; and their fears are aggi-avated by then- 
ignorance, inasmuch as they arise in reference to subjects 
which they are not able personally to master, or to estimate. 
It is likely enough, that by an influence of this sort the com- 
mencement of piety may 'in some cases be obstructed; and 
it is certain, that by it the progress of piety has in some 
instances, perhaps in not a few, been vexed and harassed 
by painful and afflictive thovights. 

Now it is my purpose, on this occasion, to suggest a few 
considerations by which this feeling of painfulness may be 
mitigated, or removed. > 

I begin with a confession. I confess that I am not in 
possession of any solvent for the difficulties of speculative 
philosophy. I cannot solve the problem of the universe, I 
admit the reality of these difficulties, and their insolubility. 
I say this, however, that they are all of tliem reducible to a 
common element, and to a simple expression. They do not, 
either of them, nor all of them together, prove that there is 
anjiihing really amiss in the constitution of the universe, or 
that the system of things, in any manner, or in any case, ia 
out of joint: they prove only this — the imperfection of our 
knowledge — nothing more. Our knowledge is restricted; 
and we are thus shut up within a cii'cle c' mystery. That 
is the truth, and the whole truth. IVow respecting these 
restrictions of our knowledge I submit several observations. 
I. The first observation I make is, that these restrictions of 
our knowledge are only part of a general system. 

One might suppose, indeed, from the manner in which the 
difficulties of speculative philosophy have been announced, 
that they were the only difficulties in the way of human 
inquiry ; and, if, indeed, it were so that there are no mysteries 



anywhere else, it might be deemed hard to find them here. 
But we know that the fact is not so. Thei'e are mysteries, 
not only in speculative philosophy, but in philosophy of 
every kind. The animal world, for example, is full of 
inystery. The problem of animal life is to this day as 
mysterious and unsolved, and as probably insoluble, as it ever 
was. Pathology — the doctrine of disease — is as dark to this 
hour as any doctrine in theology. The vegetable world is 
full of mystery. There is not a flowei", or a blade of grass, 
that has not in it more of mystery than all the wise men in 
the world can remove. The mineral world is full of mystery. 
Scarcely a stone can you take up, but it presents to you the 
inexplicable marvels, either of chemical affinity, or of crys- 
tallization. To mention these things is only to name a few 
out of a multitude. Everything around us is mystery. At 
every point is our knowledge restricted, and theoretical 
inquiry brought to a stand. 

Is there any cause for wonder, then, at the mysteries and 
difficulties which attach themselves to speculative philosophy? 
The great questions connected with the problem of the 
universe are involved in darkness, not because there is any 
infelicitous jieculiarity in them, but because they are among 
the objects of human knowledge, all of which are equally 
involved in dai'kness. The entire sphere of human investi- 
gation being thus restricted, it is altogether most natxiral and 
congruous that the region of speculative i^hilosoj)hy should 
be so. Y^ou cannot explain the mind of man, and its mode 
of communication with the external world 1 Very well; 
there are a thousand things besides that you cannot explain. 
You cannot explain the existence of suffering among the 
animal tribes, or the caiise of evil among mankind? Very 
well. We find mystery in every stone, and in every plant; 
what wonder, then, if, when we come to inquire into the 
philosophy of man, and of God's dealings with him, that we 
should find mystery there? What should we say if we did 
not? AVe should say, this is surely not a part of the same 
universe; or, if it be, this is the greatest mystery of all. 
And, as mystery should not surprise us, so neither should it 
vex us. Who is there that frets and murmurs about the 
mystery that there is in a crystal or a flower; in the process 
of nutrition, or in the conditions of disease? Then why 
should a man who is so easily reconciled to all mysteries 


besides, be made unhappy wlicn lie finds that there are 
mysteries in his own intellectual nature, or in that of his 
fellow-man, and in the ways of God to both? May we not 
fau'ly say, Be consistent? Either be displeased with all 
mystei-ies, or be reconciled to all. 

II. ]VIy second observation upon this matter is, that 
restricted knowledge is an essential element of our being. 

It would almost seem, from the complaints uttered by 
speculative philosophers, that their difficulties had been 
imposed arbitrarily, and that it would have been easy for us 
to have been made to see and understand all these things. 
But this is not so. It is, indeed, not only because we ai-e 
human, but because we are created, that there are mysteries 
to us; for there are of necessity mysteries to all created 
beings. It may be, perhaps — though we cannot speak posi- 
tively — that to God all things are clear — (for my own part, I 
do not feel at all certain that God's being is not to this hour 
a mysteiy to himself) ; but to him only can all things be 
clear. "His imderstanding is infinite:" but infinite know- 
ledge cannot be possessed by any but an infinite being. To 
all created beings there must be mystery. They are finite, 
and the finite cannot grasp the infinite. They are but 
parts, and each but a very small part; and the parts cannot 
be conceived of as capable of comprehending the whole. To 
be dissatisfied, then, because of our restricted knowledge, is 
to be dissatisfied that we are creatures. We have an ambi- 
tion, every one of us, to be the Creator! None- of us can be 
satisfied unless we be divine ! Every one of us must be a 
god ! We must possess the attribute, that is to say, of 
j)erfect knowledge. Is not this, even allowing something for 
the pride of man's poor heart, and even in the opinion of 
these philosophers themselves, being a little too proud ? 

But not proud only. To be discontented with imperfect 
knowledge is to be discontented witli existence itself. With- 
out restricteel knowledge our existence is an impossibility. 
He who quarrels with the restrictions of his knowledge, 
quarrels with the very possibility of his own being. The 
language of his heart is, " I would rather not exist at all, 
than exist without knowing all things." Is there, then, 
nothing, no end or purpose, for which it can be worth while 
for a creature to exist? Is there nothing on earth, or in 
heaven, worth living for, although this one desire be denied? 


III. In the third place I observe, that oui- knowledge, 
with all its restrictions, is amply sufficient for all practical 

According to some, indeed, the mysteries which attend 
our existence supersede the cultivation of a 2:)ractical regard 
to religion. We can know nothing certainly of our own 
being. Perhaps the external world is an illusion; perhaps 
the internal world is so; perhaps all is God, and respon- 
sibility a fiction. It is enough to reply to this foolish eflfort 
to throw the moral world into confusion, that, whatever 
illusions may attend our being, they are at all events uni- 
versal, and not partial, and they ought to afiect all depart- 
ments of oiir conduct alike. If they supersede moral action, 
they should equally supersede secular action ; if they render 
it needless to take care of the soiil, they I'ender it equally 
needless to take care of the body. If spiritual desix^e be 
illusory, so is hunger. If a sense of guilt be illusory, so is 
inflammation. If heaven and hell be illusory, so are sensi- 
ble pleasures and perils. Yet the possible illusoriness of the 
earthly and the sensible withholds no one, not even philoso- 
phei'S themselves, from treating them as realities. Illusory 
as the external world may be, every man toils in it as though 
its seemings were substantial facts. Illusory as the internal 
world may be, every man lives as though his appetites and 
passions demanded substantial gratifications. And, though 
all things may possibly be God, men distribute rewards and 
punishments one among another without scruple. Why, 
then, does this system of practical action stop precisely at 
matters relating to the soul, to eternity, to God 1 There is 
clearly the same reason for treating these as realities, as 
there is for treating secular objects so; and there is much 
more reason for ti'eating them with a solemn and anxious 
earnestness. ! if you treat anything as an illusion, let it 
be the body, not the soul. Do not eat, do not drink, do not 
sleep: but — be reconciled to God, and flee from the wrath 
to come ! 

What argument is there, however, in saying that anjiihiug 
is an illusion, and not a reality? An illusion is a reality if 
it be really an illusion, and as a reality it requires to be 
treated. And illusions which are in their nature permanent 
make the same demands upon us as if they were substantial 
verities. The great passion of human life is an illusion, a 


state of feeling founded upon a set of false judgments. Yet 
who disrec'ards it? AVlio knows not that it is the spring of 
our hic^hest earthly joys, and the basis of our most impoi-tant 
social duties? The element of its power is its permanence. 
And thus, even granting that all things are illusory, this 
detracts nothing from their practical importance if they also 
be permanent. Constant phenomena are to all intents and 
puriwses facts. Now of the constancy and pei-manence of aU 
the phenomena within us and without us there can be no 
doubt; and, consequently, aU of them claim to be regarded 
and treated as facts. God has evidently given life for prac- 
tical ends; and to employ it for practical ends, as it is mans 
wisdom in things temporal, so is it man's higher and more 
incumbent wisdom in things eternal. t i vf 

Practical purposes being the great purposes for which lite 
is "iven, that is the most valuable knowledge which conduces 
to their attainment ; and, if knowledge is given us sufficient 
for the practical ends for wliich we live, there is clearly no 
very urgent reason, if any, for complamt. Now it is practi- 
cal knowledge emphaticaUy which God, generally speaking, 
has imparted to us. During the first ages of the world, 
certainlv, men acted upon practical, and not upon theoretical, 
<^rounds". They must have acted thus for many ages, or they 
could not have acted at all. Even now theoretical knowledge 
is studied and mastered by the few, and not by the many. 
To accomplish the practical purposes of life God did not 
teach anybody theory. Men fed themselves on the fruits 
of the field a long time before they studied the anatomy ot 
plants. Navigation was practised a long while before any 
theory of the winds was made out— even if such a theory 
be made out at this dav. Boats went up and down the 
i-ivers a long while before men knew anything about the 
theoiy of the tides. Men practised physic before they knew 
anything about the theory of health and disease; indeed, so 
far as f can undei-stand, medical practice is in gi-eat part 
empirical still. It is the universal habit, and the unques- 
tionable wisdom, of mankind, to avaH themselves of whatever 
practical knowledge thev possess for the attainment of prac- 
tical entls, without waiting for theoretical _ knowledge, or 
troubling themselves respecting the want of it. Now I ask 
nothing more than this for religion ; and I do not see why it 
should have less. Our knowledge is imperfect ; but for all 


jiractical purposes there is in the Bible information enough. 
If man will consult it in a teachable spirit, and for a practical 
end, it will tell him all things. It will tell him his duty: 
" Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and thy neigh- 
bour as thyself." It will declare his danger: "The wrath of 
God is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness and 
ungodliness of men." It will show him his remedy, pro- 
claiming to him the "faithful saying and worthy of all 
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners," even the chief of them. It will prescribe his duty: 
" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." 
It will encourage his hope : " Come imto me, all ye that 
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Him 
that Cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." All this 
is in terms of pre-eminent simplicity and plainness. There 
are no difficulties hei'e: he that runs may read, and the least 
instructed child may understand. Thus all that concerns 
our safety and our duty is plain enough. What is it, then, 
that we cannot imderstand 1 Why, we cannot understand 
how evil came into the world under the government of God. 
We cannot understand how responsibility in the creature can 
be reconciled with the predestination of the Creator. We 
cannot understand by what law it is that we get acquainted 
with the external world. Perhaps not. But of what con- 
sequence is this 1 Here is instruction that tells you how 
your present and future welfare may be secured ; carry it 
out ; obey it, without waiting for the solution of your diffi- 
culties. Men act thus in other things. Do you see boatmen 
loitering on the banks of the Thames till they understand 
the theory of lunar influences 1 Ai-e people kept back from 
distant adventure until they iinderstand the theory of the 
trade-winds 1 Do you see men refusing to practise physic 
until they can justify on theory the presci'iptions they give? 
Do you see the farmers standing idle, resolved to grow no 
corn until they understand the piinciples of vegetable physio- 
logy] Assuredly, there are no such exhibitions of folly as 
these. And yet shall we see a man with a precious immortal 
soul, liable to perdition, and standing on the brink of the 
grave, saying, I will not repent of sin and believe in Jesus 
till I can construct a complete system of philosophy, and 
solve the problem of the universe ! 


This is egregioiis and most fearful trifling. The immediate 
value of the practical results to be obtained, and in part the 
urgent pressure of our bodily -svants, prevents such iiifatua- 
tion in relation to secular things ; it is only vnth. respect to 
the remoter interests of religion and eternity that so culpable 
a course is pursued. Yet the inestimable value of the soul, 
and the vastness of the world to come, place this at the very 
head of all questions of practical -vv-isdom. The salvation of 
the soul should, befoi-e all things, be treated as a practical 
question. "Wait, if you please, before you eat bread, until you 
iindei-stand the growth of corn ; wait, if you please, before 
you take medicine, until you comprehend the theory of 
disease ; wait, if you please, befoi'e you escape from the flames, 
until you are informed how the fire originated, and whence 
the ladder has been brought for your deliverance ; but wait 
not till you imderstaud any j^hilosopliic theory, wait not one 
moment, before you repent of sin, submit to Jesus, and make 
sure of deliverance from the wrath to come. 

IV. I observe, fourtlily, that restricted knowledge is an 
important element in our moi-al condition. 

God pursues a course towards us by which he applies tests 
to character. This is a state of probation, intended to bring 
out what is in man's heart. Now a state of restricted 
knowledge is adapted and i-equisite to this end. If we knew 
all things, the scope for trial would be very much duninished, 
if not annihilated. For this reason it may be that we are 
restricted in our knowledge of some points, on which it 
would have been possible for our knowledge to have been 
pei-fect. Many things, doubtless, God hides from us for a 
time for wise purposes ; things which might have been 
known, but which are better concealed. There is a certain 
measure of concealment necessary to a state of probation. 
Statesmen, diplomatists, generals, in the execirtion of exten- 
sive designs, are obliged to conceal some things, things which, 
if fully known, would render their plans liable to be frus- 
trated ; and, on a similar principle, the all-wise God, while 
showing us all that is necessary for our welfare, shi'ouds 
himself in part in darkness, that, without premature expo- 
sure, he may work out his great and gloi-ious ends. And 
this gives scope for faith on our pai"t : faith as opposed to 
.sight ; faith in God's testimony concerning things which are 
not seen ; faith in himself ; submission to him, and reliance 


upon his wisdom and mercy in liis dealings towards us. 
Now to declaim against all mystery, and to say that every- 
thing shall be told us now, is to place ourselves in a position 
highly dictatorial and foolish. Is it for the clay in the hands 
of the potter to say, After this fashion shalt thou make me ? 
My brethren, it does not become us thus to act. It is not 
competent to us to refuse the moral probation for which we 
are created, nor is it any demonstration of either wisdom, or 
light feeling, to fret against the conditions of the equitable 
ti'ial to which, in divine though mysterious wisdom, we are 

v. I observe, in the fifth place, that, with all its restric- 
tions, the field of our knowledge is marvellously ample. 

Judge of it by comparison. Set yourselves beside the 
beasts of the field : they are placed in the same world, 
beneath the light of the same sun, in the midst of the same 
scenery, and they ai'e creatures of the same power. But 
how small a field of knowledge is theii's ! All ! if you were 
shut up in a circle of mystery as small as theirs, you might, 
perhaps, complain. 

Judge of it by fact. Look attentively at the immense 
field of observation and knowledge which is before you. 
Take a glance at science in its various departments : the 
department of natural science, either as it relates to this 
world, in the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, or as 
it relates to other worlds, there being comprehended under 
the single term astronomy more than a world, and almost a 
universe ; the department of intellectual science, including 
not only the mind of man, but the entire spiritual world, 
with all its problems so far as they are within our reach ; the 
department of moral science, including individual duty, and 
social problems of the greatest magnitude ; and, crowning 
all these, revealed science, or the knowledge of God and of 
his works from the light that is thrown upon them by this 
blessed book. By these few words I have directed your 
thoughts — as all of you who are acquainted with the vast 
field of science will perceive — to an expanse crowded with 
objects, and incapable of measurement. This is outspread 
before the human mind for investigation ; and yet we 
murmur because we cannot know all things ! 

Judge of it by human acquisition. There is no one man 
largely acquainted with all the sciences. No man can success- 


fully devote himself to the study of all. Every man who 
means to know mucli feels the necessity of confining his 
attention to one subject. Hence one cultivates physics, 
another metaphysics, a thii-d mathematics, and a fourth 
morals ; while, under a single department, its thorough inves- 
tigation demands subdivision — so that in natiiral history, for 
example, it Ls enough for one to devote himself to shells, and 
another to seaweeds. For no large portion of its discoveries 
is science indebted to any one investigator. Discovery is an 
accumidation of contributions fiom many hands, and has 
resulted from the intense application of single minds, often 
through many years, and sometimes for a whole life, to some 
small portion of the gi-eat field of knowledge. And yet how 
much there is that is not known ! Although many inquirei'S 
have found their way across the vast expanse, there are yet 
large regions which show no footprints. There are probably 
more tracks untrodden than have ever been trod. And how 
very large a portion of scientific knowledge has been acquired 
within the last hundred years ! Nor is thex'e any reason to 
conclude that knowledge may not increase, with at least 
equal rapidity, for ages. And yet, with all this glorious field 
before them, some will do nothing but vex themselves with 
a few insoluble problems. We read that Alexander, after 
carrying his conquests to what then appeared to be the 
utmost east, comjilained that he had not another world to 
conquer; but he did not do so till he had conqxiered this. 
Let \is be comforted. Assuredly, our knowledge is more to 
be gloried in for its actual and possible extent, than to be 
repined at for its wise and necessary limitations. 

VI. Lastly, T observe that, with respect to oiir knowledge, 
now restricted, we are in a position of brilliant expectation. 

Ah ! we shall know more hereafter; though not all things, 
I suppose, even at last. But we are on the eve of a glorious 
change ; glorious in some respects, even for those to whom it 
may not be a happy one. But a short time, and we shall 
remove from this world to another — I know not where, but 
somewhere in the woi-ld of spirits, where we shall behold 
glorious beings, and glorious objects. Change of place will 
much augment our knowledge; and will make us fiimiliar in 
a moment with bright, glorious, and terrific things, which 
we have only heard of now, and which have been matters of 
impenetrable mystery. While change of place shall teach us 


much, cliange of faculty shall teach us more. Now we see 
by the eye, and hear by the eai-; but the soul, released from 
the body, shall develop mightier faculties. We shall then, 
perhaps, be able to take in more knowledge in a moment 
than we now acquire in a whole life. The dispensation, too, 
will be changed. This is a dispensation, as I have said, in 
which God, for probationary 2:)urpose.s, hides things from us, 
and ia which he will have us take things on trust in order 
that he may test us; but the necessity for concealment will 
then have passed away. That which we know not now we 
sha'll know hereafter. God's veiled dispensation respecting 
us individually, and respecting the whole woi'ld of sin and 
misery, shall have been consummated, and the veil have been 
finally Avithdrawn. Everything shall be illumined by the 
blaze of that glorioiis light in which heaven shall rejoice, the 
light of the glory of God for ever. 

O you tliat want knowledge, can yoii not have patience for 
a little while 1 not even for a moment 1 Knowledge shall 
come ! Knowledge, not only of the things which you desire 
to know, but, peradventure, of many things which it may be 
your desire not to know. Revelation ! Discovery ! We 
are upon the verge of it ! Even as I speak, the glories of 
eternity seem to open upon us, and in a moment we may be 
more than satisfied. Have we no patience for a single 
instant 1 Are we so very eager to know all 1 

Let me, then, ask you solemnly tlie question, Are you 
prepared to know all ? The discoveries of another world, are 
you ready for them 1 Can you greet the new realities with 
joy 1 There will be revealed to you a glorious God : will you 
be able to call him your father and your friend ? There will 
be revealed to you the Saviour who once died for your salva- 
tion : will you be able to call him the Saviour of your soul, 
and your adorable Lord 1 There will be revealed to you the 
comjmny of the redeemed, singing praises to him that loved 
them, and gave himself for them : are you prepared to join in 
that song, having been made meet for the inheritance of the 
saints in light 1 There will be revealed to you an awful hell; 
the place of darkness, perdition, and despair: will it be the 
place from which you have timely fled, and secured your 
escape 1 Or will it be the place in which, by a conscious 
fitness, you will discern your doom 1 Ah ! looast not un- 
thinkingly of your desire for knowledge. Press not your 


demand foi* di'awing aside the veil of the unseen, if you have 
no interest in Jesus, no pi-ejiaration for heaven. Why should 
you behold as yet what could only fill you with terror and 
despair 1 

What, then, is the sum of the whole matter? Some things 
are "too painful" for you to know, too difficult for you to 
comprehend ; and on this account you are to waste life's 
precious opportunities in inaction and complaint. Pernicious 
and destructive fallacy ! Avoid it, as the entanglement of 
the spider's web. Or, if you be in any measure entangled, 
burst it; it is but a cobweb, and requires only a resolution. 
Say rather, " I have immediate interests, and I must secure 
them. I must love Jesus; I must trust in his name; I 
must be at peace with God; I must live in his service; 
I must die in his favour." 


" Thy name is as ointment poured forth." — Canticles i. 3. , 

A LARGE part of the beavity of tlie Bible lies in tlie multi- 
tude and variety of its metapliors. In this respect the book 
has no parallel. We are far, however, from doing equal 
justice to this body of noble and glorious metaphoi-s. Some 
of them, being derived from aspects of natiu-e, speak the same 
language in all ages, and to all people ; they are in all 
circumstances equally well understood, and equally deeply 
felt : some of them, on the other hand, derived from customs 
and tisages of society, are not in all ages, and in all countries, 
equally eloquent; since the usages of society not only diiier 
at the same eras in different countries, but differ in the same 
countries at different eras. Of this latter class of metaphors 
is that employed in the text, when it is said that the name 
of Jesus — for that is the name I speak of — " is as ointment 
poured foi-th." 

Now, according to our usages, there is nothing very agree- 
able in "ointment poui'ed forth." It is needful for us to 
recollect, that even the meaning of words in our own 
language changes, and that by " ointment," as the word is 
used in Scripture, we are generally, if not in all cases, to 
understand perfume. We have in one place a scriptural 
expression to this effect, " Ointment prepared according to 
the art of the apothecary," which intimates to us that per- 
fumes came into use through a medicinal chamiel; that they 
were not, in their origin, so distinct as they are now from 
medicinal preparations. Instead of speaking now of "oint- 
ment prepared according to the ai-t of the apothecary," we 
have to speak of perfume prepared according to the art of 
the perfumer. You will recollect the various references to 

* Preached at Exeter Hall, London, September 28th, 1851. 


the use of perfumeiy in tlie Old Testament. " A good name 
is better than precious ointment." " Let thy garments be 
always white; and let thy head lack no ointment." Costly 
jierfumes are enumerated among the royal treasures of king 
Hezekiah. In the New Testament, too, you remember the 
cases in which an alabaster box of precious ointment — costly 
perfume, which in one instance cost some six or seven 
guineas — was opened, and poured upon the person of the 
blessed Redeemer. 

Now in ancient times, beyond doubt, more peifumery was 
used than is used now : but in Eastern and tropical countiies 
a great deal of pex-fumery is used yet; and it is used very 
largely in the form in which some of us may remember our 
grandfathei's using it, namely, in the form of scented pomatum 
for the head. We now prefer — those who like perfumes at 
all — a liquid perfume, but even this is not general in English 
society; so that the metaphor here employed passes away 
without our enjoyment of it to the extent to which it is 
intended for illustration. What we need, then, to do, is to 
quicken our imagination into exercise, and to recollect that 
there is one of the senses to which perfume is agreeable. 
The meaning is this ; that, as perfume is pleasing to the 
sense, so tlie name of Jesus is, or ought to be, fragrant to 
the heart. The name of Jesus is, or should be, "as ointment 
poured foi'tli;" and this for three reasons : — 

I. On account of the excellences of his person. 
11. On account op the perfection of his work. 

III. On account of the ardour of his love. These 
are the three heads of my discourse. 

I. I say, in the first place, that the name of Jesus should 
be "as ointment poiu'ed foi-th," because of the excel- 
lences of his person. 

Now there are three points of view in wliich the person of 
our Lord Jesus Christ may be regarded. 

' 1. As man. Not, as some have held, a phantom, an ap- 
pearance of man without reality; but man, strictly speaking, 
just as oui'selves in body and in soul— uncontaminated piirity 
excepted, which characterized him only. Well, a man is an 
object common enough, and veiy often degiuded and hideous 
enough. In the person of Jesus, however, we see a lovely 
specimen of our humanity; an eminently amiable, pure, dig- 
nified, benevolent man : the sorf of man it is a luxuiy indeed 


to look at. But that is not all. You see in the person of 
the Redeemer a man, not only of extreme rarity, but of 
absolute singularity. There was, in the age in which he 
lived, no other such man in existence. There was in this 
world such a man in existence once, but only once, and only 
one, and that for a shoi't period — that was our first parent 
before he sinned; and, from that time till the appeai-ance of 
Jesus Christ in this world, was there never man in it of 
whom it could be said, as it was said of him — " in him was 
no sin." There was the absolute perfection of human nature 
appearing again in the midst of a corrupt world, without 
]jartaking of its corruption: once more, and but once, and 
but in one case. A man without sin — with all the lovely 
attributes of human nature, in the beauty of each, and the 
combined beauty of the whole. A man, so to speak, to be 
put into a museum. 

2. "We view the person of our Lord Jesus Christ not 
Tnerely as man, but as God. As I said he was strictly man, 
so I say he was really God. Not, as was infelicitously said 
by a distinguished writer some years ago, "deified humanity." 
His humanity was simple humanity, not deified ; but his 
person was also God, simply, strictly, really God — the divine 
nature; the second person of the divine and ever-glorious 
Trinity. Now how remarkable a thing is this ! We have 
before us in the person of Jesus Christ, God. In the heavens 
and the earth, and everywhere around us, we have the work 
of God; something that God has made indirectly expressive 
of himself; but here stands the only and unique being of 
whom it can be said, he is God. He is isolated, therefore, 
by a vast and infinite distance, from every other being or 
object in the iniiverse. He presents God to us in a truly 
marvellous aspect. Generally speaking, God is conceived of 
by us — to whatever extent we can conceive of him — as a 
being infinite, filling all things, having no limited, because 
he has a \iniversal, ])resence: biit here God is reduced from 
the infinite to the finite, to a limited presence and a local 
residence ; so as God was never seen before, nor shall be 
again. Our conceptions of God are made indefinite, often to 
a painful degree, by the intangible vastness which we are 
obliged to endeavour to attach to his chaiucter. We feel the 
Avant of some medium of perception adapted to the realiza- 
tion of his being. He cannot be seen, lie cannot be handled, 


lie cannot be traced in visible action; but in Jesus Christ 
God is withdrawn from these impediments to our aj)pi-ehen- 
sion of him. There is God as he can be seen; God, in his 
benign and glorious attributes, appearing in the human coun- 
tenance, appreciable to our own eye. There is God as he 
can be heard, uttering his inmost thoughts in the sounds and 
tones of our own language; God, as it wei-e, translated for us 
into a tongue that we can read. There is God in action, so 
that we can trace him: see him raise the dead, command the 
storm, feed the hungry, ojien the eyes of the blind. God, 
verily, as God never was seen before in this world, never but 
that once, in the man Christ Jesus. 

3. We regard the person of our Saviour as presenting to 
us, not only in one aspect man and in another God, but as 
I)resenting to us these two natures, or elements, in combina- 
tion. Jesus Christ is God and man in one 2)6rson. Not the 
two natures divided, so that each might act separately, or 
one at a time ; but the two natui-es blended, so that they are 
fitted to act together in unison. I do not know, and I do 
not pretend to know, how to explain this matter; but my 
iirm belief is, according to the Scripture as I believe and 
understand it, that, as truly as the body and sonl form one 
jierson in man, so truly the divine nature and the human 
nature form one person in Immanuel. 

Now mark what we have here: God and man in one per- 
son, the human and the divine with one consciousness, with 
one memory, with one feeling ; thinking together, feeling 
together, uttering theii' conmion thouglits by a common 
vehicle. O the thought that is common to the heart of man 
and to the heart of God ; the two natures in unison, so 
strange, so beautiful ! Verily the name of Jesus should be 
" as ointment poured forth." " He is the chief among ten 
thousand; the altogether lovely." Here is man in intimate 
connexion wdth the Deitj", and yet human nature is uncon- 
sumed; here is God blended with the feeble nature of man, 
and yet the divine nature is undegraded. 

II. I said that the name of Jesus should be " as ointment 
poured forth," on account of the perfection of his 


Now there are three aspects in which the work of our 
Lord Jesus Christ may he regarded. I look at it — 

I. As a loorh of inediation. I see God and man severed 


by a vast cliasin. Once united, when both were holy; but 
widely separated since men have become corrupt, and 
God retains his pui-ity. Tlie corruption of man is such, 
and such the purity of God, that there can be on his paii;, 
consistently with his purity, no gracious communication with 
man of a direct kind. If there be a mediator found, one who 
can worthily and successfully stand between them, and lay 
his hand upon them both, then might kindly intercourse be 
possible, but not otherwise. But who is this mediator to be? 
How can there be found one that shall possess all the quali- 
fications necessaiy for the performance of such a function'? 
Where, for example, shall he be found who is capable of 
speaking for God to man ? To speak for God, he must be 
able to comprehend all God's thoughts, to know them so as, 
iu communicating them, to do to them no injustice; and this 
requires a mind as large as God's. He must also be able to 
communicate God's thoughts, and to put their full and cor- 
rect import into modes and words appreciable and compre- 
hensible by man. Or who shall be worthy and fit to speak 
for man to God? Who is of such a nature as to give warranty 
of sympathizing fully with man's condition of ruin, condemna- 
tion, and despair, qualified to utter words fitly pleading for 
such misery and crime : and yet of dignity enough to appear 
before God, and be fitly there the representative of human 
nature, whom God shall regard as honourable enough to 
listen to, and accept? Ah! my brethren, if we want a 
mediator between God and* man, some one to speak for God 
to us and for us to God, where, where shall he be found ? 
Where but in Jesus, whose person qualifies him in every 
respect for the undertaking; who, as divine, is partaker of 
all the sentiments of his Father, and, as human, transfers 
them without injury into the language of mankind : who, as 
human, can speak as a brother for his brethren; and, as 
divine, can sjieak as a divinity to his fellow? The name of 
Jesus "is as ointment poured forth." I look on the work of 

2. In the second place, as a ivork of expiation for sin. I 
spoke just now of the holiness of God keeping the corrupt 
woi'ld at a distance; I speak now of the righteousness of God 
laying an ungodly world under condemnation. The inflexible 
righteousness of God, as governor of the world, necessitates 
the execution of the righteous law, which is holy, just, and 


good, though in the execution of it every soul should perish. 
Neither does the righteousness of God permit any redemption 
or release from the sentence of condemnation, apart from 
some sacrifice for sin available to maintain the honour of 
God's law, while the sinner shall be released from its curse. 
"VVe want, then, an offering; but where shall Ave find one? 
The question which Isaac put to his father in relation to a 
similar matter is applicable here. " Behold the fire and the 
wood, my father; but where is the lamb for a burnt-oftering'?" 
Ah ! where is the lamb for a burnt-offering for our trans- 
gression 1 See the qualifications the sacrifice must possess. 

(i). In the first place, as a sacrifice for man, he must be a 
man. The nature that is oftered in expiation must be the 
same nature as that which has rebelled. 

(2). In the second place, as an ofiering of expiation for 
sin, he must be a pure and holy man, having no sin of his 
own. The contaminated could never be accepted in sacrifice 
for the contaminated. 

(3). In the tliii-d place, he must not only be a man, and a 
holy man, but moi"e than a man; since, if the sacrifice were 
simply human, one life would go for one, and for one only. 
If the sacrifice had been man only, he could have saved by 
his death but one man; and there would have been needed 
as many saviours as there are sinners. We want more than 
a man — something about him that shall give him more 
dignity than any one of his fellows; a man of preciousness 
enough, if such can be found, that it shall be said of him 
that his life is an equivalent for the life of mankind. And 
where are you to find this? Of men you may have plenty, 
but sinful men. Or, if you were to find a holy man, then 
he is but the equivalent of one transgressor. It is in Jesus 
alone that these indispensable qualifications are foiind. There 
is the ' ' lamb for the burnt-offering," with all you want in 
him. You want a man for sacrifice. Jesus is your brother, 
and has the same nature to offer as that in which the rebel- 
lion has been perpetrated. You want a holy man. This 
is he "in whom was no sin, neither was guile found in his 
mouth." You want a man of more dignity than man posses- 
ses. Again this is he — a human being with whom the 
divine nature is so blended and identified, that aU lie does 
and all he suffei-s has a value, not only equivalent to the 
whole race of man, but to as many worlds, if it were pos- 



sible, as there are iaidividuals of our race. My brethren, the 
divinity of Jesns Christ gives to his obedience unto death a 
vahie that is infinite. His "name is as ointment poured 

3. In the third place, I look on the work of our Lord and 
Saviour as a work of living love and saving power. Having 
yielded up his life and regained it, " death hath no more 
dominion over him." Raised from the dead, he ascended up 
on high, and took his seat on his Father's throne; and there 
he is to carry out actively the work of redemption, in a 
mode in which none but himself could efiect it. Suppose, 
for example, to test this matter, any other were placed there. 
What is it that you want in him to whom all power shall be 
intrusted for the salvation of his church, and for the execu- 
tion of the Father's purposes'? You want, first of all, some 
one that can understand him, that can know what the plans 
are that are meant to be fulfilled, and the mode by which 
they are to be fulfilled. You want not only some one that 
can know God's mind, but some one also that can know 
man's mind — the good man's mind, the bad man's mind, and 
the devil's mind; and all the elements that are brought into 
play in these marvellous proceedings. You want some one 
that can understand all, and that can know how to take 
such measures, and form such apprehensions of things, as to 
prepare himself for the last judgment, and one who shall 
know how to judge when the day of judgment comes. Then 
you want some one that can do it, as well as understand it 
— some one that has wisdom enough, and power enough, 
to cany out what he comprehends to be done. And, 
thirdly, you want some one that has love and compassion 
enough to do it, and so to identify himself with this poor 
miserable world as to reckon its redemption the great object 
for which he lives and laboiu-s ; to be always about it, and to 
live for nothing else; to be incessantly carrying on this work 
with the guilty, the obstinate, the rebellious, the infirm, the 
sorrowful, the tempted, the tried, so that he has nought to 
do but to be the comforter of the mourners, the strength of 
the helpless, the refuge of the weak, and the victor for the 
feeble. You want one with knowledge, wisdom, power, love, 
enough for that. Ah! where do you find him, but in Jesus? 
The capacity and the qualifications of all besides sink into 
nothing. I would not believe an angel, if he told me that 


he understood the eternal plans; I would not believe an 
angel, if he said he had pity enough, or power enough, to 
conduct me to heaven. I can believe Jesus. I titist I do 
believe him. O yes! for that eternal wisdom, that divine 
knowledge, that infinite understanding, that almighty power, 
and that deathless love, which lived even in the death on 
Calvary, and still lives and glows in heaven, I can tiiist 
thee, my Saviour ! Thy " name is as ointment poured 

III. Thirdly, I said that the name of Jesus should be as 
ointment poured forth, on account of the ardour of his 


And this is the hardest of all the three parts of my 
tliscom'se. Not that it is not pleasant to speak of the love 
of Christ, and it ought to be easy to expatiate upon it; but 
it is so hard to do justice to it. It has veiy often seemed to 
me a marvellous thing, and utterly inexplicable, how Jesus 
Christ ever loved sinners at all. For, although it is very 
easy for us to have an idea, since we have ourselves the sen- 
timent of com^iassion, how the poor, and miserable, and 
imdone, may excite pity, yet with us there is this law, that 
the excitement of pity is always obstructed by our observa- 
tion of criminality. We pity distress readily, and, in cases 
where we find the distress is not the result of crime or folly, 
oiu- pity flows in its broadest and most copious stream; but, 
if we find tlistress which has been brought on by culpable 
means — for example, the tlistress which men bring on them- 
selves by habits of driuikenness ; the distress which men 
bring on themselves by embezzlement, or by fraud ; the 
distress which men bring on themselves by the commission 
of a greater crime, such as miuxler — in propoi-tion to our 
abhoi-rence of the crime is the diminution of our i^ity. We 
come to say — "Ah! you have deserved it; I have little pity 
for you;" till at last, I take it, we may come to say in such 
cases — "I see you are miserable, but I have no pity; your 
conduct has been so bad." O, my friends! suppose Chiist 
had proceeded in relation to his pity according to the law of 
oui- own natui-e, and that his love had been repi'essed by his 
observation of our guilt ! Why, he had to see in us a greater 
culpability than ever we have seen in othei'S. I talked about 
embezzlement, and fraud, and even greater crimes; but our 
criminality towards God far transcends all this. Our aliena- 


tion, and enmity, and disobedience, must present us to 
Jesus Christ in an aspect necessitating liis most intense 
abhorrence; and yet he i:»itied us. 0! he is not made like 
man. I do not believe that ever man could have pitied in 
such a case; I do not believe that ever angels could have 
pitied in such a case. Such love is a property which is alto- 
getlier divine, that passes over what is adapted to excite 
abhorrence, and pities notwithstanding all. 

And then, as to the degree in which our blessed Saviour 
has loved. ! I confess I am at an utter loss here. I 
would gladly vacate this place, and put any one of you into 
it. I would make you all jjreachers, and ask you cpiestions, 
and bid you speak to me, and help me to explain a theme 
so untractable. How much he loved 1 Why, tell me, then, 
how high the glory was from whence he came ; tell me how- 
felicitous the place in his Father's bosom was which he left 
for us; tell me how sweet those songs, and how rich those 
glories, were, which for us he abandoned when he came down 
to this world. I cannot tell how much he loved until I 
know these things. How much he loved"? Tell me, then, 
how far he humbled himself when he took our nature upon 
him. Tell me how much he suffered in a world of guilt and 
shame like this. Tell me how great the ignominy was 
beneath which he died, and how deep the anguish of his soul 
when he exclaimed — " My God ! my God ! why hast thou 
forsaken meV Those words ring in one's ears with a teri-ible 
import, like thunder, which, as you listen to it, utters a 
voice which you revere, but do not understand. My breth- 
ren, the love of Jesus passeth knowledge. To tell you that 
he lived and was beneficent, that he died and was patient, is 
to utter words which, in relation to such a theme, seem to 
have no justice. They are too poor. I bid each of you con- 
ceive for yourselves how much Jesus loved. Verily, his 
name should be " as ointment poured forth." 

And now, dear friends, for the conclusion of these few 
thoughts. I have said that the name of Jesus should be " as 
ointment poured forth." I now desire, in the first place, to 
make an inquiiy of a practical kind, and to put the question 
to you who hear me. Is the name of Jesus " as ointment 
poured forth" to you 1 Is it fragi*ant to your hearts, dear 
hearers? Ah! I -fear that this question divides you. I fear 
that there are two classes in relation to this mattei-. There 



are some of you who must say — "Why, no; the name of 
Jesus has no fragrance for me. I use it sometimes — some- 
times profanely; sometimes lightly; but I do not think it is 
fragrant to me; I know many names that are more so." Ah! 
you do. Their name is Legion, I take it, — vanity, pleasure, 
Avealth, ambition. These names are more fragrant to you, 
perhaps, than the name of Jesus. Ah! what a mistaken 
judgment you have formed! Have you, then, no need of a 
Saviour, no sin to be forgiven, no soul to be saved, no hell 
to flee from, no heaven to win, that you And no fragrance in 
the name of Jesus? There is no other Saviour; no other 
name is given under heaven whereby you can be saved. Are 
ypu bent on perishing? Will you"^have nothing he has to 
give ? You would not turn away radely from a man that 
offered you a sovereign; some of you, perhaps, not from a 
man that offered you a sixpence; and you can turn away 
from Jesus, who presents to you salvation, as though he 
offered you nothiug worthy of your acceptance. Oh ! this is 
dreadful trifliag! It is an awful thing to live in a dying 
world in a state like this. It is a dreadful thing to stand on 
the brink of eternity without an interest in Christ. You 
labour for the meat that perisheth; but labour not for the 
meat that perisheth, nor do another stroke of this world's 
toil, till you have taken hold of Jesus as your Saviour. You 
lie down on your bed, and sleep; but sleep not a wink on 
the brink of the grave, on the brink of hell, till you have 
embraced Jesus as your Saviour. You go to places of 
pleasure; but smile no more, and take no more pleasure, 
with damnation near at hand, or while you refuse an interest 
in him who alone can redeem you from its pains. 

There are many of you, dear brethren, w^ith whom 
I know well that the name of Jesus is " as ointment 
poured forth." Ah ! you have learned to love him— the 
friend that gave himself for you, and drew your heai"ts to 
him, and hath in «o many, many, instances fulfilled the great 
and i)recious promise which he sealed with his blood. How 
many times have you found his name 

" A balm for every wound, 
A cordial for your fears " ! 

And it has not grown stale yet. No! you will rejoice to 
travel in the midst of this perfume all the way to heaven. 


! let it never vanish from you ; be never far from the 
fountain of it. Live near to Jesus; and mistrust him not. 
Weep no tears of bitterness and despair. No ! the name of 
Jesus is too full of consolation. Let it ever rejoice your 
souls. He is the Saviour whom you never have found 
disappoint you, and whom you will not surely recompense 
for his faithfulness with mistrust. 

O, my brethren ! there is something in these thoughts that 
entertain us to-day, not only fitted for our passage through 
all the various paths of this guilty, trying, world, but some- 
thing in them that blends heaven and earth together. The 
name of Jesus is a name above every name that is named, 
whether in earth or in heaven. That same name which is 
fragi'ant for us, is " as ointment poured foi-th " among the 
seraphim of God. O the familiar fragrance that shall make 
us feel at home in heaven! The fragrance of that name 
shall make us rejoice in the world above, conscious that it 
is the same as that which has cheered lis in the world below. 
Blessed Jes\is ! how shall we thank thee for making thy 
name, once so disregarded, fragi^ant to our hearts ] Teach us 
to love thee amidst all earth's changes, and prepare us to 
spend with thee a happy immortality! 


" For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but 
unto us who are saved it is the power of God."-l Conntkums i. 18. 

There is somethmg very interesting— I might almost say 
strikincr—in the first phrase presented to us by this vei^e— 
"the preaching of the cross." By " the preaching of the 
cross" of course, we understand the preaching, of the Gospe , 
_a phrase, indeed, which the apostle uses synonymously vnth 
it in the preceding verse. And there must be some reason 
why this, which is not the dii-ect phrase, is used to denote 
the preaching of the Gospel; that is, some reason why the 
preaching of the Gospel may be called also "the preachmg 
of the cross." There are two circumstances which may have 
led to the use of this name. 

First, the apostle did not so preach the Gospel as to con- 
ceal the cross. Ecclesiastical history presents to us cases m 
which tliis has been done. It is upon record that some of 
the Roman Catholic missionaries that went out to China and 
the East did preach the Gospel concealing the cross— hold- 
incr back the fact that Jesus the great Saviour had died in 
i^Sominy upon the cross, and telling their hearers only ot 
those f^icts concerning him which had a glorious appearance, 
such as his resurrection and ascension. And it might not 
have been altogether unnatural that the first disciples should 
have sympathized in such a feeling, and have gone about the 
world telling rather that Christ had risen than that he had 
died,— telling -rather of his ascension to the right hand ot 
God than of his execution as a criminal under -Pontius Pilate. 
This fact, as it was very humiliating, and had a character 
of ignominy and cUsgrace, so it tended to attach dishonom- 
to his name, and to the Gospel of salvation which was 

* Preached at Devonshire Square Chapel, London, March 7th, 1852. 


preached in his name. But the apostles did not do so. With 
them the preaching of the Gospel Avas the preaching of the 
cross: they told the whole story, and gave as full and de- 
tailed an account of the Saviour's death, and the reproaches 
that fell upon his name, as they did of his resurrection and 
ascension into heaven, and the power that he exercised there. 
So distinct was this that their j^reaching of the Gospel might 
with justice be called "the preaching of the cross." 

Secondly, there is another reason which justifies the use of 
this phrase: the crucifixion of Chiist supplied, and was the 
origin of, the great and influential topics wliich their preach- 
ing of the Gospel contained. It would have been nothing 
for Paul to have preached the resurrection of Christ — the 
ascension of Christ— the glory of Christ in heaven, if he had 
not pi'eached his death. These facts, glorious as they are, 
have no evangelical glory or meaning if you separate them 
from the cross. To say that Christ rose from the grave, and 
ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, 
and maintains perpetual dominion there, is to state glorious 
facts ; but hide the circumstances of his atoning death — 
pass it ovei" — let it not be told — and there is nothing in all 
the rest. Take away the cross, and you take away the very 
life and soul of the Gospel itself. So the jireaching of the 
Gospel, was "the preaching of the cross." From the most 
ignominious part of it they drew the whole power of the 
Gospel they preached. 

And likely enough it was, that, going about the world and 
preaching such a Gospel, they shoidd find many people who 
would reckon it " foolishness.'' Viewed according to the 
current notions then prevalent in the world, it was a foolish 
thing to preach such a Gospel as that. As for as the world 
was Jewish, and leavened with Judaic notions, the people 
were everywhere expecting something great — pomp, power, 
splendour. To jireach to them a Gospel of the " cross " — 
to tell them of a man who was cinicified with thieves, who 
was buflfeted, and scourged, and spit upon — that did not cor- 
respond with their ideas at all. They thought it "foolish- 
ness." And as far as the world was pagan, and leavened 
with the notions of pagan philosophy, men were intent 
on the pursuit of speculation. They wanted to settle the 
question of the nature of virtue — of the sublime — of the 
false — of the tiiie — and many other points that Paul did not 


want to settle at all. Paul taught them practical matters of 
eternal moment, which were "foolishness" to them. The 
simple doctrine he promixlgated could not resolve any of 
theii- philosophical problems. A great many people, also, 
cast it aside from a general obduracy and unconcern of heart. 
A likely issue enough; but, thanks to God, not the only 
issue. There were some to whom it was "the power of 
God;" some who were saved by it. To them, and in their 
judgment, it was a powerful thing. They had felt it such, 
and experience was a good proof in that matter. They 
found it a thing divinely powerful, having such power as 
never was found in any contrivance of man since the world 
was : a power worthy of God, such as might be fitting and 
honourable for God himself to exercise upon the heart and 
character of man; a power indicating the Gospel message 
to be not less than divine. 

We come, then, to a genei-al idea on which I mean to 
enlarge a little, namely, that the Gospel is a power — an 
instrument adapted to be of great influence on the heart of 
man. God's scheme of salvation by Jesus Christ has an 
efficacy A^ith respect to his own system, and as it regards the 
procedure of his own administration ; but it is to have an 
eflect, also, upon the heart and character of man. The preach- 
ing of the Gospel is the mode in which this power is to be 
applied to the hearts and consciences of mankind. 

I beg here to make a passing remark upon two somewhat 
prevailing general aspects of theology as now ciirrent amongst 
us. They are found occasionally in sermons and treatises, 
and I think it not imfit to take a brief notice of them here. 
It is the custom with some divines to bring forward the 
notion that the Gospel, as a power to work a change on the 
heart and character of man, derives its force, not so much 
from the death of Christ, as from his life. If you have an 
open ear and an observant mind, you Avill find this idea set 
forth; and that we ought to preach, not only his death, but 
even more emphatically his life. God, we are told, has em- 
bodied the doctrines of Christianity more in the life of Christ 
than in his death. These divines, as though timid and fear- 
ful of the influence which might be diftused by preaching the 
death of Christ, continually urge us to preach his life. How 
benignly, how virtuously, how heroically, how devoutly, he 
lived ! Now I do not mean to say one word in depreciation 


of tlie life of Christ, wliicli was pre-emiiiently benign, vir- 
tuous, heroic, and devout; superlatively grand and striking 
was it in all respects : but I have no faith whatever in the 
moral influence of the life of Christ, as compared with the 
moral influence of his deatli. It was a life of viii:ue, but I do 
not believe that the presenting to the woi'ld a life of vii*tue 
is likely to be in any degree influential in its regeneration. 
It may be said that the life of Christ presents to us the 
benienity of God, but this is done far more touchingly in his 
death. To my mind, it is the death of Christ that contains 
the moral influence of the Gospel by which man's heart 
is to be renewed. What Paul preached was not Christ's 
life, but Christ's death. I think it is because men are becom- 
ing weary of the cross of Christ a great deal too soon, that 
they are preaching the life of Christ. Glorious that is, and 
in its place \xseful; but that it was ever meant to contain 
the great persuasives of the Gospel to the heart of man I do 
not believe. 

Again, some men tell us that the Gospel is a power, and 
that the death of Christ may have an influence, but that it 
is not an atonement. "What is it then? It is a "way of 
speaking!" And all that we are told about an atonement 
for sin is just a " way of speaking!" which God meant to be 
persuasive and influential to men's heai-ts, but which has no 
reality in it. To this I would say, first, if God tells us 
about things as if there were an atonement and there really 
is none, that is not smcerity, or truth. I cannot impute such 
a thing to God, my Maker ! If he tells us about an atonement 
for sin, it is because there is one. How any divines can cast 
such an imputation on God's veracity, I cannot understand. 
Secondly, unless the atonement be a fact it cannot be a 
power. All the influence that can be exerted on the 
heart of man by saying there is an atonement, arises from 
the fact of that atonement. If I find that what is said 
about the atonement is not true, then there is no longer any 
power in anything that can be said about it. If it is a fic- 
tion, it is, at least, a most unfortunate thing that these 
divines have found it to be a fiction. It being now dis- 
covered that it is all a deception, there can no longer be any 
persuasive power in whatever may be said concei-ning it, as 
there never can be in a thing that has no existence. How 
good people can lend themselves to such a mode of representing 


the Gospel, is again a thing that I find it very difficult to 
understand. For my own part I lay down the position that 
the Gospel is a power because it proclaims an atonement. 

Now, passing from the consideration of these two views, I 
take up the general idea that the Gospel is a power: it 
presents a set of topics and considerations intended, and 
adapted, to move and work upon men's hearts and con- 

I. If the atoning death of Christ be a fact, what a fact must 
sin itself be ! Here is God making a vast provision, by the 
humiliating and agonizing death of his own Son, for the 
expiation of the sin of the world. What a proof it is of 
the lost state of man ! Would God, the wise, the holy, the 
gracious, have made such a provision for expiating our sin if 
we were not sinners — if we were not great sinners'? Is there 
not, then, a deep culpability and criminality in our life and 
conduct? You tell me it is hard to convince you of sin : 
joii tell me you have done nothing so very wi-ong, nothing 
to call for damnation. You think it hard — incredible. See 
thei'e! there we have God providing an expiation for your 
sin by the incarnation and blood-shedding of his Son ! And 
yet you say you cannot see that you are a sinner. If you 
ai*e not a sinner, what is God's conduct in this matter] 
Your beUef that you are not a sinner throws back on 
God's wisdom an aspersion of error. Will you. quai'rel 
with your Maker in tins way"? Will you not see in the 
death of Christ a fact heart-melting, soul-subduing, and say, 
"Well, then. I am a sinner. If my iniquities have deserved 
this, and caused the appointment of such a way of salvation, 
let me bow down heart-broken, and confess my sins." 

II. If it be a fact that Christ's death is an atonement for 
sin, then what a fact is God's justice! The sinner says, 
" True, I have sinned, biit I do not apprehend condemnation, 
because God is mex'ciful and loving." Well, now, come again 
with me to the cross of Christ. See a dying Saviour ! There 
is God arousing his vengeance against his own Son when he 
stood as man's representative. There is no sinner in this 
world that has half the reason to plead why he should escape 
God's justice, that Jesus Christ had. Christ might say, 
" Father, / have not sinned, thou needest not chastise me." 
He said not a word, and the Father would not have listened 
to a word if he had. And now, sinner, do you think for a 


moment, that, when the same question comes to be asked 
whether the sword of justice shall smite you, the hand of 
God will hold it back, when lie did not hesitate to smite his 

III. If it be a fact that the death of Christ is an atone- 
ment for sin, how great a fact is the love of God to a rebel- 
lious world. I have just now been speaking of the wrath of 
God; and the terrors of his justice, as seen in the execution 
of his wi-ath against sin upon the person of his Son, may- 
well strike us with awe. You think him, perhaps, not only 
an angry, but a malignant being. You think his wi-ath 
argues vmkindness, and you entertain hard thoughts of him. 
You dread to approach him. You resent his anger against 
sin, and harden your heart against him. Go, then, again to 
Calvary; and there you see the most rigorous exercise of a 
Judge's righteousness amidst the meltings of a Father's heart. 
See to what an expense he has gone to save you. See what 
an effort he has made, by the sacrifice of his Son, that he 
might not punish you. And are you going to fly from him 
as a being wrathful and malign, who stands there slaying 
his own Son for your welfare, and offering him up there 
rather than abandon you to pex-dition? Come, sinner; is 
there no reconciling power here? Is it altogether vain that 
God hath appeared in Christ Jesus reconciling the world to 
himself? Hath not the cross a power in it, when thei'e 
seems to issue from the expiring figure of the Son of God 
this enti'eaty, "Be ye reconciled to God"? Are you going 
still to be his enemy? Have you no conscience, tellmg you 
with a power you cannot resist that he deserves you should 
be his friend. 

IV. If it be a fact that the death of Christ was an atone- 
ment for sin, what a feet is the foundation of a sinner's hope. 
0! then, it is true, and true enough, that none need despair; 
and it is true, and true enough, that whosoever believeth in 
him shall be saved. And there is no fallacy in it, when a 
poor guilty sinner, who yields himself up helpless and undone 
into the hands of Jesus, and there fiiids a plenitude of 
pardon, breathes peace, and begins to rejoice : nothing unjust, 
nothing unreasonable, when I send my fears away, and say, 
"Jesus is mine, and God is my Father through him." Pre- 
sumptuous if there were no atonement, but well founded if 
Jesus died for my sin, and was raised again for my justifica- 


tion. CTlien my griilty conscience may be at peace; my 
troubled lieart may be quiet in hope ; my spring of joy bursts 
forth: I put my trust in him, and " I know in whom 1 have 
believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which 
I have committed to him." I want a great Saviour, it is 
true, but a greater Saviour than Jesus I do not want. 

"In him my vast desires are filled, 
And all my powers rejoice." 

V. If it be a fact that the death of Christ was an atone- 
ment, what a fact is a believer's obligation to devotedness 
and love. Ah! my brethren, if we have been bought at 
such a price w^e are no more our own. "Whose, then, are we 
now 1 The purchaser's ! He that ])aid his blood for our 
ransom, it is his we are now : his by right of purchase — his 
by sm-render, not unwilling, on our own part. O ! have we 
yielded ourselves to Jesus, and found salvation in him, and 
yet are we unconscious of this obligation ? Are we saying, 
"Yes, I will have pardon — I will have security — I will 
have peace: but I will love the w^orld, I will cherish sloth- 
fulness, I will idolize the creature." Now, my brethren, if 
this be the case; if these longings and cries of the old man 
are not silenced, let us come to Calvary. There is the power. 
See there at what cost we have been redeemed — with what 
agony — by what lovel And he that so loved us, and died 
for our sins, says now, "All that I ask is that you love me." 
" Love thee, blessed Saviour! How can I help it? I must 
love thee for ever." Hear him again : — " All that I ask is 
that you will hate the sins that slew me." " Hate the sins 
that slew thee, blessed Saviour ! Do not I hate them with 
a perfect hatred ? 

"While, with a bleeding, broken heart, 
My murdered Lord I view, 
I raise revenge against my sins, 
Ami slay the murderers too." 

" All that I now ask is that you will live to me, promote my 
glory, and endeavour to give me a good name in the world." 
And what is your answer to that] " blessed One! if it 
be in my power, by look, or life, or word, or influence, to pro- 
mote thy praise, there is no object in the world I would 
so gladly live for ! What can give me an equal joy?" 
Is not that your language w^hen you look to the cross? 


Does it not bring out of yoiu- heai-t's depths these exclamar 
tions"? And for the old man, that says, " No, I yield to sin, 
I cherish self-love, and indulge in carnal gratification:" you 
say, "Avast! be quiet! I will break, not only thy head, but 
thy very heart; and here at the cross must thou die, and 
cease thy utterances for ever ! " 

VI. If the death of Christ be in fact an atonement for sin, 
what a fact is the guarantee of a believer's happiness ! How 
imquestionable the love of God must be to them that trust 
him, seeing he gave his Son for them that hated him. For a 
rebellious and wicked world he gave his Son. Such was the 
depth of his compassion for them : and for his disciples — Ids 
followers — what will he do for them? be unkind to them*? 
leave them in trovible? — forsake them in temptation? No, 
no ! Never ! He would give his Son a second time for them, 
if necessary. This he would do : much more will he exercise 
that kind and continual care for the maintenance of which 
he was raised to the throne, and sits at the right hand of 
God "He that spared not his own Son, how will he not with 
him freely give us all things?" 

I will now conclude with one or two practical observations 
on this fact, that the Gospel is a power, and presents a set of 
topics and considerations appealing touchingly to the heart. 

I. How wonderful it is that God shoidd be pleased thus 
to deal with men. Hei'e is God bent on reconciling the 
world to himself : he wishes to have a change wrought upon 
the human heart and character, and he condescends to 
the employment of this moral jiower; submitting, as it were, 
to his own law, according to which he has established an 
influence on men's minds. " I have made man susceptible of 
emotion; and I will appeal to him by fear, by love, by all 
ways to which his heart is open. I will treat it according 
to what I have made it." It is God using liis own machinery, 
subjecting himself to the action of his own law, coming out 
to persuade a world, and using means and motives of per- 
suasion with his creatures. Is not that a marvellous thing? 
O ! one expects to see God pursuing his course in a way of 
dignity and powei*. He that rolls the stars along, and holds 
the planets in their course, condescends to entreat a man, 
presenting himself before him in a mode and aspect of 
reason, adducing considerations to weigh with him, inviting 
decision, begging that he will weigh every appeal ! God so 


humiliating himself as to suffer himself to be i-efu.sed and 
neglected ! Marvellous attitude for God, but an attitude 
assumed in his wisdom ! That there is a dignity and glory 
in it cannot be dovibted. 

2. What a thought it is for ungodly men that there is a 
divine power in the Gospel, and that Ln it God puts foitli all 
liis power of persuasion. It is God's opinion, God's estimate, 
then, that in this aspect of the death of Christ there is some- 
thing adapted — exquisitely adapted — gloriously adapted, to 
convince man's understanding, to transform his heart. Tliat 
is the end for which God presents it. It is a power designed 
with divine wisdom and equity for this work, an all-sufficient 
power, and leaving all the culpability with the rejector of it. 
Now, sinner, what a thought is this for you ! " Here is God 
dealing with me by motives which he has devised; motives 
which, in his judgment, are convincing and poweiful, 
and whicli will, if I give consideration to them, transform 
my heart. I am dealt with, therefore, Ln such a way that, 
if I reject and repel his offers, it puts him in the right 
and myself in the wrong." Under what obligation this 
places you to take up these topics, and to bring them home ! 
You, who are so treated by God, and see so clearly the means 
he has employed for your good; why do you not take them 
vip, spare yourself no pains in thoroughly examining them, 
and never satisfy yourself until you can with confidence 
say: — "Now I have pondered the considerations of the 
Gospel, I have thought over the motives brought to enforce 
its claims, and I see no just reason why I should repent, and 
turn to God." If you can say that, you are ready for judg- 
ment. But, if you cannot, then you must say: — "I must 
soon die, and thei'e is a crucified Savioiu- whose face I dare 
not see, and an angry God whose fro^vn I cannot bear." 
How can you dai'e to live in such a state as this — self-con- 
demned now, and more deeply self-condemned at last? 

3. And, my brethren, it is for us to remember that the 
Gospel is a power — " the power of God." You know that, 
in the course of the Christian life, we all want a great deal of 
power ; that is, we want our devout affections renewed and 
invigorated. We want something to make us more dead to 
sin, and alive to holiness. We have, I trust, felt it in part. 
It was this — the contemplation of the love of Christ in 
dying for us — that melted our hearts once. Live near to 


Christ, realize his love for you in his death on the cross. 
There is the source of perpetual energy for the spiritual 
life. In this world you must often feel the pressure of 
earthly things — the allurements of carnality, of self-love, 
of worldliness. The two influences are antagonistic : 
here is the corresponding influence of Christ and his 
cross. And, as to the instrumentality for the nourishing of 
our holy aflections, it is simply a realization of what Christ 
has done for us. Yet you are despondent, ready to despair! 
You must come to the cross, and gaze anew. Say you are 
worldly — say that sin gains upon you — say that temptation 
still has power. See there a love which overcomes these 
influences, and gives you renewed strength to grapple with 
them. This is the secret of spiritual vigour ; and, in all 
cases in which you make the attempt, I am sure you will 
find it so. I have, I hope, been a Christian for forty years. 
I have foimd, as you. all find, the outbreaks of sin, and the 
encroachments of the world ; yet this resoui'ce has ever in- 
spired me with the feeling of hope, and with spiritual strength : 
and I charge you all with the experiment, being persuaded 
that there is no malady which the Christian may not heal, 
if he will come near to Christ, and gaze on his cross. At that 
sight corruption withers, while the heart takes a fresh hold, 
and yields itself anew in devotedness to Jesus. There it says : 
"Sin, my heart is not for thee: it is for thee. Saviour, thy 
service, thy ways!" Come, then, dear brethren, and strive 
to-day to realize the truth: — "The Gospel is the power of 
God unto salvation unto CA'ery one that belie veth." 


"For after that, iu the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not 
God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that 
believe." — 1 Corinthians i. 21. 

Without disparaging its cognate activities, it may be laid 
down, I suppose, witli universal assent, that preaching is the 
great labour of the missionary enterprise ; a labour to which 
Christian schools, the circiilation of tracts, the translation of 
the Scriptures, and even the formation and care of churches, 
however important, are but auxiliary. The passage before 
lis, therefore, has an immediate interest in relation to the 
object of our present assembling, since preaching is the 
subject of it ; and a brief consideration of the topics it 
pi'esents to us may, under the divine blessing, be conducive 
to our edification. "After that," says the apostle, "in the 
wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it 
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them 
tliat believe." 

Our subject being preaching, it is important that, in the 
outset, the true idea of preaching should be ascertained. 

It might seem, indeed, tliat a practice of such frequent 
and familiar occurrence could scai-cely need to be defined ; 
and yet the practice may be found to have departed so far 
from the original design, as to render a recurrence to it 
neither useless nor unnecessary. In truth, there are two 
things which preaching is commonly supposed to be, which 
we are inclined to say it is not. On the one hand, preaching 
is not an ecclesiastical act, presupposing otiice ; neither, on 
the other, is it a formal act, implying order. Both these 
views are, as is well known, extensively held. It is tena- 
ciously maintained by some that to preach is a clerical 

* Preached at Bloomsbury Chapel, London, Api-il 27th, 1859, on behalf 

of the Baptist Missionaiy Society. 



prerogative, wliicli no layman lias a right to assume, or can 
projDerly exercise ; while by others it is supposed that the 
act of preaching must constitute a portion of a regular 
service, a more familiar address amounting only to a few 
words of exhortation. We repudiate equally both these 
notions. Throwing aside the conventional meanings which 
ages of ecclesiastical iisage have generated, and reverting to 
the sole authority in matters of this class, the import of the 
scriptural term, we shall be led to a widely different idea. 

The original preacher, icrjpv^, was a herald, charged with 
negotiation, or a common crier — a public officer, whose 
business it was to proclaim, or to make publicly known, 
matters which he had in commission. Thus to preach, 
Ki^pvaaeiu, was either to negotiate or to make proclamation. 
From tlus latter use of the term was gradually derived a 
meaning of congruous, but reduced, im^jort — to announce, or 
orally to difiuse intelligence. In its sacred association, to 
preach is orally to disseminate religious knowledge, whether 
with or without a clerical office, whether in a formal or a 
familiar manner, whether in public or in })rivate channels, 
whether to grovips or to individuals. Preaching, in a word, 
is a name for any oral mode of making known evangelical 
truth ; and, as descrij^tive of a divine institution, it denotes 
an appomted service of religious instruction. 

Having thus ascertained the true idea of preaching, and 
carefully keeping it before us, let us proceed to such observa- 
tions concei-ning it as the words of the apostle suggest. 

I. Our first observation is, that preaching was not from 
the beginning ; that is to say, not immediately consequent 
on the sin and rum of mankind. It did not please God to 
institute it until " after" a certain portion of the woidd's 
liistory had transpired. 

Not that at any time the actual business of the world's 
religious instruction had been neglected by its Maker. Never 
had God left himself "without witness." From the begin- 
ning, and through every age, the heavens had declared his 
glory, and the firmament had shown his handiwork; day unto 
day had uttered speech, and night unto night had taught 
knowledge; while he had never ceased to manifest his bounty 
by giving rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling men's 
heai'ts with food and gladness. 

In addition to these external testimonies, God had placed 



within man's bosom a living witness to liis claims, wliose 
voice, faithful according to its light, spoke to every man 
intelligibly, and, perhaps, to many men powerfully, of duty 
and of sin, of obligation and of judgment. 

Nor had tlie great facts of redeeming mercy, which have 
since become the burden of the preacher's tongue, been 
altogether witliheld from the earliest generations. Scarcely 
had the enemy of man accomplished his fii'st and most 
fatal triumph, when gracious announcement was made of a 
deliverer, the seed of the woman, who, with a bruised heel, 
should crush the serpent's head ; while the institution of the 
rite of sanguinary sacrifice, strikingly significant by anticipa- 
tion of the great atonement, threw the prophetic announce- 
ment into a substantive embodiment, which has been pre- 
served by all nations as a pei-petual monument of it, 
although the terms in which it was proclaimed may have 
been forgotten. 

Such elements of di^dne knowledge had existed in the 
world from the beginning, and they were not entirely lost 
even in its deepest ignorance. If they were not like the 
day-creating sun, shedding its broad and ample light, they 
were at least like stars, which relieved in some degree the 
otherwise unmitigated blackness of the heaven above, and 
furnished a feeble, but not utterly wortliless, guidance to 
ti'avellers else totally bewildered. Preaching, however, was 
not froin the beginning. The lessons in the knowledge of 
himself which God was j^leased to vouchsafe to the early 
ages of mankind, were commixnicated directly by his own 
hand, or by his own voice, and were conveyed alike to all. 
Either they were written on the broad and varied expanse 
of the earth and sky, which all alike beheld ; or they were 
breathed by the inward monitor, to whose whispers all alike 
listened ; or they were couched in a significant action, which 
all alike witnessed. There was then instituted no service of 
religious instruction as between man and his fellows. For 
this (for the system was not altered, either by the occasional 
appearance of prophets, or by the local operation of Judaism) 
the world had to wait four thousand years. 

II. Our second ol^servation is, that the period antecedent 
to the institution of preaching was one of deplorable dark- 
ness. Di;ring its whole progi-ess, "the world by wisdom 
knew not God." 


1. The world, indeed, according to the language of the 
apostle, had its "wisdom." It was not, however, that the 
earliest fathers of mankind applied themselves immediately 
to the cultivation of their intellectual powers. They seem 
in the first instance to have made experiment of their 
physical strength, the most obvious of the faculties with 
which theii" Maker had endowed them. The fii'st transaction 
on record is a murder, and the single phrase by which the 
state of the world after fifteen hundred years is described 
by the inspired penman is this — "the earth was filled with 
violence" (Gen. vi. ii). Such was the mutually destructive 
character of our race in its first development, that God 
repented of its creation, and, with the exception of one vital 
germ, swept it from the earth by a deluge. 

After the flood men appear to have given themselves with 
one consent to the indulgence of the sensual passions, and to 
have rushed wildly into idolatry, the practice of which, while 
taking innumerable forms, was in every form debasing and 

At length, however, the observer of human progress is 
cheered by the birth of philosophy, and he sees in various 
nations noble-minded men applying themselves, with a success 
not unworthy of admiration considering the circumstances in 
which it was achieved, to the study and difiusion of both 
physical, intellectual, and moral, science. In the east and 
the west, in India and Persia, in Egypt and Greece, arose 
men whose names, and in some cases their works, are come 
down with honour to our own times, and whose writings 
afibrd lights to modem, as their words constituted them the 
founders of the ancient, schools. In instances not a few, 
the revered instructors of their own era have transmitted to 
posterity a title to reverence scai'cely less profound from the 
latest ages of mankind. 

2. Yes, the world had its wisdom ; but the wisdom of the 
world was not sufficient for its welfare. Its defective result 
the apostle sums up in one pregnant phrase ; by it the world 
"knew not God." 

It might seem as though the condition indicated by this 
phrase was one of ignorance merely, but more is undoubtedly 
intended. There was a moral fault, of which ignorance was 
rather the efiect than the cause. Men did not avail them- 
selves of the means of knowing: God which were in their 


possession. "For the invisible things of him, even his 
eternal power and godhead, from the creation of the world 
were clearly discernible : so that they were without excuse ; 
because when they knew God" — or might have known him 
— " they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful." 
Thus, " that which may be known of God was manifest to 
them, for God had showed it unto them;" and upon this 
gi'ound the charge is brought against the population of the 
ancient world, that they "held the truth in unrighteousness;" 
that, for the sake of indulgmg in vices which even the dim 
light they had rebuked, they tvu-ned their eyes away from its 

Assiiredly it was at once natural and just that, wishing to 
be ignorant, men sliould become so. They " became vain in 
their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
Professing to be wise, they became fools ; and changed the 
glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to 
corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and 
ci-eeping things." They " changed the truth of God into a 
lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the 
Creator, who is over all, God blessed for ever." 

Such is the expansion which, in the first chapter of his 
epistle to the Romans, the same apostle gives us of the 
briefer expression which he here employs — "the world by 
wisdom knew not God." They knew many things, but they 
"knew not God." The great idea of God, in its unity and 
majesty, flittered itself away in their mxiltiform idolatries, 
and the Infinite One became lost among the crowds of 
divinities whom the nations dreaded, or played with, rather 
than revered ; while the recollection of his holiness was 
totally banished, by the gross sensualities which gradually 
came to be characteristic both of the gods and theii- worship. 
Human nature itself revolted, if not at the process pursued, 
at the issue to which it led. The schools of philosophy, 
enlightened enough to treat the popular idolatry with con- 
tempt, ultimately propagated the doctrines of either atheism 
or pantheism, some teaching that the universe was without 
a God, others that God was but a name for the universe 
itself; while those who more consciously felt their need of 
God could only "feel after him, if haply they might find 

Such a condition of the world was assuredlv most melan- 


clioly. They " knew not God." The phrase is brief, but of 
large and profound signification. To know God was the first 
and most necessary element of true wisdom ; the first step 
towards an acquaintance with either their happiness, theii' 
duty, or themseh^es. Not knowing God, they knew nothing 
that could shed a light on their sinfuhiess, nothing that 
could supply a germ of renovation, nothing that could satisfy 
a yeai-ning after peace. Being "without God," they were 
also " without hope," alike for the present and the future. 

III. Let us advance now to a third observation presented 
by our text — namely, that the darkness which jjrevailed 
during the period antecedent to the institution of preaching, 
was for wise ends permitted. It was " in the Avisdom of 
God" that " the world by wisdom knew not God." 

It could scarcely have been expected, jierhaps, that such 
an explanation of the fact would have been given. Looked 
at prospectively, it might have been deemed much more 
probable that God should have ordained a course of pro- 
gressive wisdom, as well as of progressive light, and that the 
dawn of the human race should have advanced to the noon- 
day, instead of unnaturally receding to midnight. And 
since it was not so, is it to be concluded, either that the 
means of improvement were inadequate to the end, or that 
human corruption wrought out an issue of surpiise and 
disappointment 1 

Neither of these conclusions is to be entertained. The 
whole case is comprehended "in the wisdom of God." 

On the one hand, he is far from being taken by surprise. 
He to whom all things are foreknown foreknew also this, 
how negligent mankind would be of the means of divine 
knowledge vouchsafed to them, and how deeply they would 
revolt from his allegiance and his fear. 

Nor, on the other hand, does he admit the inadequacy of 
the means employed. It had been, not wisdom, but folly, to 
have expected to reap where he had not sown, or to have 
expected to gather wheat from a field which he had sown 
with tares. 

The darkened condition of the world had come about "in 
the wisdom of God." It may not be said, therefore, that it 
was either a necessaiy, or even a natviral, result of divine 
arrangements ; it was the fruit of human corruption and 
folly, but a fruit the growth of which it did not please God 


to prevent, because a purpose wliicli approved itself to his 
wisdom would be answered by allowing it to arrive at 

maturity. . ,, i 

What, then, if we may ask such a question, was the end 

which God ha-d in view 1 , . +1 • 

There can be no presumption in saying, m answer to this 
inquiry, that God's design in leaving the downward course 
of mankind for a time without further interference, was to 
afford scope for the development of human character ;_ to 
create a theatre on which man might throw himself into 
unrestricted action, and show what really was in his heart. 
In other words, it was to provide an opportunity of testing 
human nature, and of demonstrating what man, left to 
himself, would do with the faculties and the means witli 
which he had been endowed. 

The principle which underlies this instance of the divine 
method, is that which characterizes the whole of Gods 
administration towards our race; it is the principle of 
probation by experiment. It had been so in the garden of 
Eden, and it was so in the wilderness through which the 
expelled inhabitants of the garden were dispersed ihere 
were now new concUtions, but the problem was the same, 
though a larger space, and a longer time, were req^^^red for 
its solution. A long series of ages, indeed, was allotted to 
it • but not more, it must be deemed, than, " m the wisdom 
of God," were appropriate to the successive manifestation ot 
the various phases of human character, and the complete 
exhaustion of the resources of the race for its own improve- 

"' For the problem to be wrought out was, undoubtedly, an 
important one, and not unworthy of its cost. Gods ultimate 
design towards mankind was one of infinite mercy; but he 
had to do with a spirit of pride and self-elation, and this it 
was necessary to humble in the dust. Never must it be said 
that he had brought infinite resources to the help ot those, 
who either needed not his aid, or could have helped them- 
selves. It was requisite, therefore, for the lapse of ages to 
testify, in a manner that could not be gamsaid, into how 
deep a corruption the race had fallen, and how mcompetent 
human resources had shown themselves to its rescue, it had 
been written of old time, " I will destroy the wisdom of the 
wise, and bring to nothing the under.standing of the pru- 


tlent;" and the course of human depravity was permitted to 
run on, until God had " made foolish the wisdom of this 
world." At the close of this administration it could be 
unanswerably asked, "Where is the wisel Where is the 
scribe? Where is the disputer of this world 1" (i Cor. i. 
19, 20.) The world lay bleeding, and ready to expire; but 
none of its philosophers, or its priests, could either heal its 
wounds, or assuage its anguish. 

IV. Our fourth observation is, that, in this crisis of our 
race, God mercifully interposed for its welfare by a system 
of active religious instruction. "After that, in the wisdom 
of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God 
by the foolishness of preacliing to save them that believe." 

I. Here it is obvious to remark, in the first place, that 
preaching was of divine institution. You will readily call 
to mind the commission given by our divine Lord to his 
disciples, shortly before his ascension into heaven; "Go ye 
into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature." 
This was the grand characteristic of "the dispensation of 
the fulness of times." "And, lo! I am with you always," 
said the Lord, "even to the end of the world" (Matt, xxviii. 
i9j 20). 

In order correctly to understand this institution, it is 
necessary to look at it on two sides, and to observe its 
narrowness on the one side, and its breadth on the other — 
its limitation and its extent. 

Notice its limitation. The commission was addressed to 
disciples only. ISTone else, indeed, were qualified to render 
the service required, and from none else would the Lord 
accept the obligation. It was for those who knew and loved 
the Gospel to make it known to others; but "unto the 
wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my 
statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant into thy 
mouthf (Psalm 1. 16.) 

Notice its extent. The commission was addressed to dis- 
ciples universally; not to a select portion, or to an order of 
men among them, but to discijiles without any other quali- 
fication than their discipleship, and, consequently, to all. It 
supplied to every one of them both a wan-ant and a com- 
mand to preach. Of none was silence required; to none 
was silence permitted. 

I am aware that I thus deny by implication the existence 

ox PREACHING. 1 53 

of an Older of ministers — that is, of preachei-s — under the 
Christian dispensation, and that I herein oppose myself to a 
widely prevailing idea; bnt I do not shrink from this conse- 
quence of my words. In the church there are, undoubtedly, 
divinely- appointed officers, as pastors and deacons; but I 
know of no scriptural evidence for the institution by Christ 
of an order of religious functionaries for the world. I believe 
the preaching of the Gospel to have been conmiitted equally 
to the whole body of disciples.* 

2. I obsei-ve, in the second place, that the institution of 
preaching was founded on the occurrence of new facts. 

The commission was not to proclaim anew to every crea- 
tiire what, from the commencement of our I'ace, had been 
proclaimed incessantly to all; it was to "pi-each the 
Gospel" to publish the glad tidings. But tidings implied 
facts; and, if there were now tidings to be published to 
mankind, facts must have occui-red of which they were to 
be informed. 

And, in truth, facts did occur, of great and unspeakable 
importance. At length, "in the fulness of time, God sent 
forth his Son" into the world. He then fulfilled the an- 
nouncement which in the beginning of the world's ruin he 
made, and accomplished that purpose of his love which lay 
so long embosomed in promise and in prophecy. The 
Saviour was now no longer an intention, but a fact. He 
lived and laboured; he suffered and died; he rose from the 
grave and ascended into heaven, there to be exalted a Prince 
and a Sa\dour for evermore, able to save unto the uttei-most 
all that should come unto God by him. These were facts 
the importance of whicli could not be exaggerated. 

It was not that the occurrence of them made any difference 
as to the possibility, or the facility, of salvation. To him 
who " calleth things that are not as though they were," the 
work and sacrifice of Christ constituted a reality as a basis 
for action while to mankind they w%re but words expressive 
of his purpose; and salvation was as easy to the earliest 
sinners of onr i-ace, who had to trust in a promise as yet 
unfulfilled, as it was to those who saw the atoning Lamb 
upon the cross. But there were two respects in which the 
occuiTence of these facts materially altered the case. 

* See the Note at the eud. 


First, it was l)y means of these facts tliat God made a 
further manifestation of his character, I do not say a 
different manifestation of his character, for that had been 
always the same, not only in itself, but in its discoveries to 
mankind; but -a. further manifestation of it, one more full 
and impressive. 

Generally speaking, the advent of the Messiah brought 
God into the world in a manner in which he had never 
antecedently been among men. He had hitherto been, not 
indeed the unknown, but the invisible. " No man," said 
ou.r Lord's immediate forerunner, " hath seen God at any 
time; the only -begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the 
Father, he hath declared him" (John i. i8). So much 
emphasis attached to this word " declare" that our Lord 
subsequently added, " He that hath seen me hath seen the 
Father" (John xiv'. 9). In the person of Jesus, it may 
perhaps be said, God was made visible to human eyes ; at all 
events, an acquaintance with him entirely new was vouch- 
safed to man, and his chai'acter was rendered at once more 
distinctly intelligible, and more vividly appreciable. 

More especially, in the great work of atonement for sin 
by the death of Christ the moral character of God was 
brought out in most striking forms. It had been told from 
the beginning, and sung, as the ages rolled on, by the 
prophets of the olden time; but it was exhibited in the 
cross with an unwonted brilliancy. Here "mercy and truth 
met together, righteousness and peace embraced each other" 
(Psalm. Ixxxv. 10). 

Some divines, indeed, have shown a disposition to restrict 
the light thrown by the cross of Christ on the character of 
God to one particular attribute, and have regarded it princi- 
pally, if not exclusively, as a demonstration that God is love. 
I cannot concur in this view. That God is love is, indeed, 
an inestimable truth, and it is strikingly taught at Calvary; 
but it is not all that the world needs to know, nor is it all 
that Calvary teaches. The infinite holiness and inflexible 
justice of God appear as conspicuously at the cross as his 
wonderful compassion. If there we may learn, on the one 
hand, new lessons in the mystery of that love in which God 
" spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all " 
(Rom. viii. 32), thence also we may derive our most touch- 
ing conviction of the unmitigable abhorrence yn%\\ which he 


regards iniquity, and the irresistible force of tliat righteous- 
ness which necessitates its punishment. 

"Here his whole name appears complete; 
Nor wit can prove, nor reason guess, 
Which of the letters best is writ, 
The truth, the justice, or the grace." 

Secondly, it was by means of these facts that God pre- 
pared a more powerful appeal to man's heart. 

Not without power at any time were the communications 
to man from his Maker, but never had he been taught the 
things which belonged unto his peace with such a fulness 
and force as now. Was he to learn the excellency of the 
law of which he had been a transgressor? Let him read it 
in the cross of Christ, and in the dignity of him who, by 
so deep humiliation, magnified it, and made it honourable. 
Was he to learn the fact of his own guilt, and the greatness 
of his ill-desert ? Let liim read these in the cross of Christ, 
where a victim hung;, who would not have been slain if he 
had not been a sinner, and a victmi too precious to have 
been slain for him if he had not been a great one. Was he 
to learn to abhor hiinself in dust and ashes because of all his 
transgressions] Let him learn this, too, at the cross of Christ, 
where he should hear, not tlie thunders of a broken law, but 
the more melting utterances of a bruised heart. Or (not to 
multiply examples on so pregnant a topic), was he to learn 
the boundless extent of redeeming grace, and to arrive at a 
sure conviction that there was mercy, even for him? He 
should read this lesson also in the cross of Christ; for, after 
such a sacrifice, who could despair] 

The cross of Christ had thus an eloquence for the human 
heart beyond all former example, and it created the ele- 
ments of an appeal by the like of which man had not been 
addressed through all preceding ages. 

3. Such were the new facts on which the institution of 
preaching was founded. I now observe, in the third place, 
that it bore to those facts a relation of appropriateness and 
wisdom. It was evidently appropriate. The facts belonged 
to the race in all its existing breadth, and through all its 
subsequent duration; yet tliey were themselves both local 
and temporary. Not like the sun, which repeated his 
glorious tale to every land, and through every age; aior like 
the sacrificial institute, which every nation had made its 


own; these all-impoi'tant facts were the events of a single 
country, and of a single life; and, but for some mode of 
communication, they had remained unknown to the world so 
deeply interested in them. 

The precise mode of communication, indeed, was not 
necessary. The glad tidings might have been gi'aven in 
lines of light upon the vaulted sky, constituting, as it were, 
a celestial meteor which should repeat its nightly story to 
the admiring nations. Or they might have been committed 
to "the sons of God," whose joyous bands would, neither 
less willingly nor less melodiously, have proclaimed the 
decease which Jesus accomplished at Jerusalem, than the 
life which he assumed at Bethlehem. But neither of these 
methods approved itself to the divine wisdom. " It pleased 
God by the" institution "of preaching to save them that 

Was the choice thus made a wise onel The method was 
certainly simple and unimposing; it might, by a superficial 
observer, be deemed feeble and unpromising. It was " to 
the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness" 
(i Cor. i. 23) ; but, assuredly, it was not without its adapta- 

On the one hand, the institution of preaching required 
only what could easily be done. Had it demanded the pos- 
session, either of oificial influence, of scholastic learning, or 
even of natural eloquence, the commission had been practi- 
cally invalid; but it had no such -scope. Every one who 
heard the glad tidings could repeat them, and this was the 
simple ser-\dce required. " The Spirit and the bride say. 
Come; and let him that heareth say. Come" (Rev. xxii. 17). 
It thus set all to work on what, if it might occupy a life, 
might also be done in its briefest intervals, or in its habitual 

On the other hand, the institution of preaching brought 
into play everytliing by which a communication could be 
rendered engaging and impi'essive. 

The address of a fellow-man is pre-eminently fitted to gain 
attention to a matter of practical interest. There is nothing 
in it to surprise, to perplex, or to distr-act. The manner of 
communication is customary, and engages no regard, the 
entire attention being left for its matter. And it is no less 
adapted to fix attention, than to gain it. Thei'e is nothing 



about it cold aud formal, but it is naturally instinct witli 
life and feeling. It readily partakes of tlie character of tbe 
communication made, and breathes pity, joy, and earnestness. 
This is especially the case when the speaker warns of a state 
of danger in which he himself has been involved, and tells of 
a mode of escape which he himself has found effectual; when 
he pleads as with a brother with whom he sympathizes, and 
for a Saviour whom he loves. 

To this it must be added, that the disciples of Jesus — that 
is, the appointed preachers of his Gospel — are, in a marvel- 
lous manner, dispersed through all ranks of society, and all 
situations in life ; an arrangement which might seem to have 
been made for the very purpose of disseminating the good 
news through the whole mass of mankind with the greatest 
possible rapidity, and of engaging on its behalf the mingled 
power and tenderness of the social and domestic sympathies. 

There was, then, genuine, and even profound, wisdom, in 
selecting men as tbe agents for publishing the glad tidings of 
salvation. And the fitness of Christian men for preaching 
the Gospel is so singular, that it overweighs all accidental 
disadvantages. Not at enmity with eloquence or learning, 
nor unwilling to accept any aid they may be able to render, 
the preaching of the Gospel is by no means dependent upon 
them, but can be carried on effectually by unlettered and 
wayfaring men. The glad tidings are of a nature to make 
their way to the heart, though proclaimed by the humblest 
lips, or with a stammering and ungrammatical tongu^ 

Nor is the institution of preaching unworthy of the pecu- 
liar position in which it is placed in relation to the divine 
administration. It is not only the means which God has 
selected for making a more powerful appeal than formei-ly to 
the heart of man, it is the chosen means of his concluding 
and final appeal. As, in the work of redemption, God has 
nothing more to do, so, in communicating the knowledge of 
redemption, he has nothing more to say. On the one hand, 
he has uttered all his heart, and brought into action his 
deepest counsels ; on the other, he has put into opei-ation the 
best adapted instrumentality, and applied the most perfect 
means of conviction and persuasion. Even God's resources 
of persuasive appeal are now exhausted. As henceforth he 
has nothing to add, no more ample discoveries, no more 
affecting representations; so he has no new instrumentality 


to employ, no more convincing or influential pleadings. 
Nor would it avail if lie had ; for, if these fail, none would 
succeed. What our Lord said to the Jews is emphatically 
applicable to hearers of the Gospel — " If they believe not 
Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded 
though one rose from the dead" (Luke xvi. 31). The 
preaching of the Gospel, therefore, is fitly God's last appeal 
to man. After this, as after death, the judgment. 

Let it be observed, however, that it is only of preaching as 
Christ instituted it that these things can be affirmed. The 
scope of this divine institution has been miserably contracted, 
and its influence fearfully diminished, by the professional 
character which it has, in the course of ages, acquired. The 
evils of this modification are twofold; on the one hand, a 
multitude of persons preacli the Gospel who are not fitted 
for it, and, on the other, a far greater multitude do not 
preach the Gospel Avho are. Tlie former are the members of 
the clerical profession, among whom, spealsing generally, the 
existence of experimental piety is theoretically veiy impro- 
bable, and pi-actically very rare; the latter are the sincere 
Christians of every name and of every grade, a body who 
unequivocally constitute " God's clergy," and to whom, with- 
out an exception, both the prerogative and the obligation of 
preaching the Gospel belong. 

It is only as carried out on God's plan that the institution 
of preaching can be what God intended it to be, either in 
magniiude, or in efli'ect. Under cover of a professional 
ministry, however numerous, or however liberally supported, 
by far the greater number of voices that should be employed, 
and these by far the most eloquent, are dumb ; while those 
who speak, either speak of that which they neither feel nor 
understand, or are separated from theii* auditors by a line of 
demarcation which it was undoubtedly the design of Christ 
continually to overstep, if not entirely to obliterate. With 
so deleterious a modification of it, the fault ought not to be 
cast upon its author, if the practical result of the institution 
of preaching has been less than might have been expected 
from it; and it cannot be doubted that a reformation in this 
respect will precede large evangelical triumphs. The time 
when " the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as 
the waters do the sea," is the time, also, when every man shall 
say to his neighbour, Know thou the Lord. 


In another aspect the -wisdom of the institution of preach- 
ing appears. It exhibits a careful husbandry of means. It 
is after the manner of him who has created nothing in vain, 
and who permits nothing to be lost. Here, to his hand, is 
an instrumentality adequate and adapted to his purpose, and 
at once lie employs it. Why should he not 1 That he is 
infinitely wealthy supplies no reason why he should be 
prodigal. Where every element is so precious, a strict 
economy possesses as much dignity as wisdom. What would 
be done with these innumerable cpiickened hearts and touch- 
ing voices, if they were not made the means of dissemi- 
nating the glad tidings 1 Would they not constitute a 
melancholy spectacle ? A vast mass of instrumentality, 
adapted, indeed, to inestimable good, but j^ractically useless ; 
a priceless treasure abandoned to neglect ; a solitary example 
of waste, amidst a universe Avhere every element besides was 
turned to its best account ! 

It may be said, perhaps, that, in the requirement of their 
universal activity in the publication of the Gospel, God has 
laid on his people a burden at once unnecessary and exces- 
sive. Might he not have spared them so much trouble, and 
so much expense 1 

But which of them would he have gratified, if he had done 
so 1 Or who is he that asks such a boon at his Redeemer's 
hands'? It was certainly none of his early disciples. And 
is it you, Christian, who have but now received your salva- 
tion as the purchase of his dying pains, and have scarcely 
finished uttering the heartfelt vow — 

" Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
That were a present far too small ; 
Love so amazing, so divine. 

Demands my sonl, my life, my all " ? 

Is it you, child of i-edemption, whose sympathies for your 
kind, now first awakened and sanctified, embrace with an 
unutterable tenderness their spiritual necessities ? O no, my 
brother, it is not you. You feel that, while your Lord is 
enforcing an obligation which you cannot resist, he is con- 
ferring on you a prerogative which gratifies your highest 
ambition, and opening to you a source of pleasure having 
the sweetness of heaven. The awful doom would be to hear 
him say, "The tidings are glad, but publish them not; other 
voices shall serve me." 


In conclusion, oui" subject lias two principal and impoi'tant 

The first of tliese arises from tlie fact that we have heard 
the Gospel. Lips of love have proclaimed to us the tiding.s 
of redeeming mercy, and thus God's great and last appeal 
has been made to our hearts. It is a solemn thought. If 
we were to live till the day of doom, we should hear nothuig 
more touching than what has already been told us. In what 
manner have we responded to it 1 Have we, in humble faith 
and love, accepted the mercy declared to us 1 Or is the voice 
of the preacher, like the music "of one that playeth well 
upon an instrument," yielding only to the ear a fleeting 
gi-atification 1 Dear hearers, if this appeal avails not, all is 
lost, and you shut yourselves up to unbelief and iserdition. 
Oh ! in what tones of agonizing tenderness can we say once 
more, " Behold the Lamb of God !" 

The second principal bearing of our subject arises from 
the fact that others — alas ! how many — have not heard the 
Gospel. Upon us, therefore, if we know and love it, the 
obligation lies of proclaiming it to them. 

Most immediately this obligation requires our personal 
activity. Some of us are pastors of churches, and preaching 
niay be said to be our constant occupation ; in a less techni- 
cal sense, however, it ought to extend far beyond the scope 
of our professional activity, and to characterize our private 
as well as our official life. It is not pulpit-preaching merely 
that can satisfy our obligation. Some of us do not hold the 
pastoral office, but are dispersed in the quiet walks of life, 
and it might seem as though preaching were a thing scarcely 
to be required of us. Such a conclusion would be a mistake, 
however. Each of us that knows and loves the Gospel should 
preach it. Aroimd us are the ignorant, and, accoi-ding to 
the opportunities which our domestic and social position 
affords us, we are the appointed instruments of their instruc- 
tion. Allow me, dear brethren, to ask, and to press home 
the question, What in this respect are we doing'? Do 
we recognize the fact that a divinely-appointed service of 
religious teaching — a service, not only of inestimable, but of 
peculiar, value, and such as can be fulfilled by none but our- 
selves — is committed to us ] And are we doing our best to 
acquit ourselves faithfully of it? O Christian! awake to thy 
responsibility ! In the words of an apostle I say to thee, 
"Make full proof of thy ministry" (2 Tim. iv. 5). 


More I'emotely tins obligation connects lis with tlie lieatlien 
world, the condition of which is, to the present hour, one of 
deplorable ignorance. To this, by the grace of God, we are 
not wholly insensible. We are more or less embarked in the 
missionary enterprise, and we promote the preaching of the 
Gospel as its great labour. Our subject, then, suggests to us 
several practical observations. 

1. Our attitude has a divine sanction. It is by preaching 
that God will save men. It cannot be said, therefore, that, 
in this respect, we have either overlooked a just principle, or 
committed a practical mistake. Some observers of our toil, 
indeed, in high conceit of their own wisdom, warn us that 
we have no scope. Thay tell us that, on the one hand, some 
nations are too wise, and, on the other, some are too igno- 
rant, for the Gospel; and they bid us at once bow to the 
ancient wisdom of the Brahmin, and begin with the civiliza- 
tion of the Hottentot. We believe, however, that God has 
taken a juster measure, alike of the spiritual ruin of human 
nature, and its capacity of renovation, and we pursue with 
confidence the course which he has indicated. 

To those who go among the nations at our bidding, and on 
our behalf, our first injunction shall still be, Preach the 
Gospel. Instant in season and out of season, preach the 
Gospel. Seek out those who have never heard it, till you 
find none. Work after the model of the apostolic missionaiy, 
who thus laid down his pi'inciple of action : " So have I 
strived to preach the Gospel, not where Christ was named, 
. . . but, according as it is written. To whom he was not 
spoken of they shall see, and they that have not heard shall 
understand" (Rom. xv. 20, 21). And make it your ambi- 
tion to share his rejoicing when he said, " From Jerusalem 
round about unto Illyricum, / have fully freaclied the Gospel 
of Christ" (Rom. xv. 19). 

2. It is worthy of consideration, whether, upon the piin- ' 
ciple thus laid down, some beneficial modification of the 
missionary work might not be effected, and whether some 
nearer approach to the scriptural model might not be arrived 
at. Far be my lips from uttering a single word depreciatory 
of any branch of missionary labour; but let me be permitted 
to suggest an inquiry, whether, since it is by preaching that 
God will save men, there might not scriptui^ally, and, there- 
fore, advantageously, be at least a class of missionaries who 



should be preachers only, passing, with moi-e oi' less rapidity, 
but continually passing, over the ground, declaring the glad 
tidings, and not detained by any of those occupations which 
compel a fixed and permanent residence. The crying neces- 
sities of the world appear to me to rebuke the sitting down 
of so large a number of missionaries as schoolmasters, trans- 
lators, or pastors of churches ; devoted to labours which, 
however important, may, in pari; at least, be confided to 
other hands, while the evangelist goes on, to repeat the good 
news to the perishing multitudes beyond. 

Let me illustrate the case by a comparison. The wi'eck 
of a noble vessel has thrown into the sea a large number of 
persons, now, of coiirse, in peril o^ immediate destruction. 
You have been pr-ovidentially pei'mitted to come to the 
rescue, and, by means of the life-boat, you have already 
gathered on board your friendly bark a goodly company, safe 
from all further danger. What is your next step 1 To de- 
vote yourself assiduously to the refreshment of the rescued 1 
By no means. You hastily say to them, " Do you take care 
of one another now, while I hurry back to the help of those 
who are still struggling with the waves." 

Why should we not act on a similar principle in relation 
to the spiritual necessities of mankind? Undoubtedly, the 
care of the converts among the heathen is impoi-tant, and 
they might, pei'haps, be better cared for by a European mis- 
sionary; but, putting the two things into no unfair com- 
parison, the saving of souls from death is far more important, 
and the attaining of this end would amply compensate for 
any supposable inferiority of pastoral care. Should there be 
no force in Christ's own example, who, when the people of 
Capei-naum " stayed him that he should not depart from 
them," replied, "I must preach the kingdom of God to other 
cities also, for therefore am I sent"? (Luke iv. 43.) What 
would have become of Christianity in the Roman empire, 
if Paul and Barnabas had, on the first missionary journey, 
settled down as pastors at Antioch and Lystra ? 

Why may not converts in any part of the world, under 
the guidance of the same Spirit, and with the additional help 
of the New Testament, make as good pastors as those brought 
out of pagan darkness in Asia Minor, or in Spaia 1 And, if 
the result of throwing them on their own resources were to 
be the growth of some rank weeds in the Lord's vineyard, 


wherein would modern missionary cliurches give more trouble 
than those planted in the infancy of Christianity gave to the 
apostles themselves? The mistakes of the first churches, 
indeed, indirectly produced inestimable benefits to those of 
after ages, and it is possible that the young churches of a 
later period may profit by their experience. At all events, 
they may better learn to go alone, as they ultimately must, 
by being early initiated into the process. 

One thing, however, is clear — namely, that the present 
system of missionary pastorates is acting as an impediment 
to the evangelisation of the world. So vast an amount of 
European life and money is absorbed by the conti-acted 
mission fields at present occuj)ied, that the missionary work 
presses severely on its resources, not without difficulty sus- 
taining itself, and quite incompetent to the requisite advance. 
The state of the work itself, therefore, demands some such 
change as I have indicated, vmless — which God and Christian 
charity forbid ! — we are content to leave one half the world 
to an indefinite period of darkness and perdition. 

3. In the missionary field, the genuine character of the 
evangelical ministry should be preserved and cultivated. 
Great value undoubtedly attaches to the plans which have 
been adopted for training a body of native jjastors, and em- 
ploying the talents of native converts : let me be allowed to 
ask, however, whether such endeavours ought to stop here. 
Is not eveiy one who understands the Gospel sufficiently 
gifted to teach it 1 And, although not every convert might 
be adapted to proclaim the glad tidings in the streets of a 
populous city, or to undei'take a lengthened itineracy, should 
those influences be willingly lost which even the least elo- 
quent, and the least instructed, might exercise in the social 
and domestic circle 1 Should not the missionaiy motto be, 
Every convert a preacher? Is it not Christ's injunction to 
every sincere disciple, " Go home to thy friends, and tell 
them how great things the Lord hath done for thee"? 
(Mark v. 19.) 

4. In canying out this divine institution we need not fear 
the result. True, our endeavours meet in some quai-tei-s 
with contempt; but of a change in this respect there is no 
hope. If we were apostles, the same men would call our 
preaching "foolishness." They pine, perhaps, for the exei'- 
cise of public authority, for the prestige of ecclesiastical 


establishments, or for the exhibition of clerical pomp. Such 
is still "the wisdom of the world," the same in its origin, 
and in its issue, as that of ancient days; but "the only wise 
God" is not to be seduced by its glare. He still adheres to 
"the foolishness of preaching;" and now, as then, it shall be 
foTind that "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and 
the weakness of God is stronger than men" (i Cor. i. 25). 
There is scarcely room, indeed, to say that God will pursue 
such a course to put the pride of man to shame, and to make 
foolish the wisdom of the world; since he has in reality 
chosen the elements of the greatest power — has passed by the 
tinsel, to seize upon the gold. 

While characteristically employing the wisest instrumen- 
tality, however, it is not upon the instrumentality itself that 
its divine Author leans for success. He kuows how man's 
poor heart both can, and will, resist the best adapted aj^peals, 
and how sadly even the glad tidings of salvation may fall 
without sweetness on the reluctant ear. But while, on the 
one hand, the preachers of the Gospel shall be unto God "a 
sweet savour of Christ, both in them that believe, and in 
them that perish" (2 Cor. ii. 15), on the other, he will not 
be disappointed of the ti'iumph of his mercy. Jesus is 
exalted a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance, as well 
as remission of sins. With him is the residue of the Spirit, 
and by his divine influence, as almighty as it is gracious, the 
stony heart shall be taken away, and a heart of flesh be given 
in its room. Thus already hath the Lord taken out of the 
nations a people for his name, and thus, in his own time, will 
he subdue all peoples unto himself 

Finally, the subject is powerfully adapted to quicken our 
missionary zeal. It is by preaching that God will save men. 
How important, then, is the relation which preaching bears 
to the salvation of the world ! It is the true correlative to 
the great fact of redeeming mercy. " God so loved the 
world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever 
belie veth in him should not peiish, but have everlasting life" 
(John iii. 16). " But how shall they believe in him of whom 
they have not heard 1 And how shall they hear without a 
preacher? And how shall they preach except they be sent?" 
(Rom. x. 14, 15.) It is preaching that constitutes the con- 
necting link between the perishing nations and the salvation 
which has been wrought for them. What a sorrowful and 


hximbling considemtion it is, that, at a distance of nearly 
two thousand years from the great transaction of Calvary, 
so large a portion of mankind have never yet heard of a fact 
which so deeply interests them ! O ye generations of departed 
Christian men ! how told ye not the dying peoples of the 
mercy of theii* God? 

And we, who live in a period when the slumber of ages 
has been broken up, and to whose hands our fathers have 
bequeathed a work which they were among the first to un- 
dertake, and which they did not expect their children to 
abandon, with what yet unproportioned zeal do we prosecute 
the toil ! The universal preaching of the Gospel is the 
Christian work of the age, since it must be preached to all 
nations ere the end can come, and the end cannot be far. 
The march of Pro\T:dence is plainly, and even strikingly, in, 
this direction. In how many quarters the most high God is 
saying to us, "Behold, I set before you an open door, and no 
•man shall shut it" (Rev. iii. 8). And we are the generation 
upon whom this grand responsibility is thrown ! How far 
we are from being worthy of such a calling ! The lingering 
response made to the call for augmented labours in India — is 
this worthy of vlhI The deathlike silence, as yet unbroken, 
which dismally replies to the animating voice of inviting 
China— is this worthy of us ? The vast breadth of pagan 
darkness hitherto unpenetrated by the foot even of a single 
missionary— is this no scandal to us ? O, my brethren! shall 
it not be even yet that the vision of the ancient seer shall be 
fulfilled, and that the expectant perishing of every land shall 
exclaim — " How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet 
of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad 
tidings of good things!" (Rom. x. 15.) 

Our singular qualifications — I do not mean as Baptists, 
although there would be force in such an appeal, but as 
Christians— have we no true appreciation of these? Our 
high prerogative — have we no just estimate of this ? Our 
solemn obligation — does this lie upon us with no adequate 
pressure ? The celestial joy of our service— does this afibrd 
us no sufficient stimulus ? And while, in the wisdom of God, 
the salvation of the world is left contingent on an efi"ort 
which it is for us to make, is our zeal so disproportionate as 
almost to suggest the question, Was this in the wisdom of 
God ? Was it not rather his foolishness ? The sun and the 


stars have long ago told their tale of wonder ; the angels of 
heaven have ages since declared all that they may tell of 
celestial pity; it is only we who linger on our errand of 
mercy — an errand so indispensable that, while we linger, the 
woi'ld, waiting, dies. 

O, my brethren ! let us at least be united to-day in shame 
and brokenness of heart. Let us penitently accept anew the 
high distinction which is conferred on us. Let us open our 
ears and our hearts afresh to the appeal which God from 
heaven makes to us; and let us respond to it with a liberality 
so ample as to demonstrate its wisdom by its power. 


Of siicli long standing, and of so great familiarity, witli me, is the 
idea to which I have here given utterance, that I was scarcely aware, 
either in the composition or the delivery of this discourse, that I was 
treading on controverted gi'ound. As the observations of some most 
respected brethren, however, have brought this rather vividly to my 
recollection, I may be permitted, perhaps, to enter into a brief expla- 
nation, in addition to the few words which an attentive reader of my 
sermon may perceive that I have introduced into the text of it. 

And first, as to the meaning of the word Kfjfva-a-Hv. It is imdoubtedly 
true, that in its primary meaning there is involved an idea of office ; 
according to the lexicographers, however, this idea of office does not 
continue to attach itself to the derived uses of the term. The several 
elements comprehended in the primary meaning are thus successively 
brought out by Schleusner, in his Lexicon. 1. To cry aloud. 2. To 
announce by public authority. 3. To diffuse information. 4. To 
advise in the name of another. 5. To teach. The reader who has 
Schleusner's Lexicon at hand will find much satisfaction in examining 
the examples adduced. I think, therefore, that I have not gone 
beyond authority in assigning to the word xupvo-o-wv, to preach, the 
simple meaning of orally making known. 

Next, as to the supposed institution by Christ of an order of minis- 
ters. I have said in the text enough to show that I fully recognize 
the offices which the Lord has instituted in and for his church. It 
is for those who think he has instituted any other office to bring 
forward proof of their opinion. On this point reference will doubtless 
be made to Ephes. iv. 11, 12: "And he gave some, apostles; and 
some, prophets ; and some, evangelists ; and some, pastors and teach- 
ers : for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for 
the edifying of the body of Christ. " Upon this passage I remark, 
first, that it evidently describes a provision for the edification of the 
church, not for the conversion of the world; and, secondly, that the 
provision described consisted entirely of the outpouring of supernatu- 
ral gifts, which gave to it a temporary character — a character so tem- 


porary that, in the epistles tb Timothy and Titus, in which we look 
for indications of the permanent organization of the chui-ch, no refer- 
ence is made to any of them. That the passage does relate to the 
supernatixral gifts is evident from 1 Cor. xii. 28: "And God hath set 
some in the church, tirst, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, 
teachers; after that, miracles; then gifts of healmgs, helps, govern- 
ments, diversities of tongues." Both the terms and the connexion ot 
this passage are decisive of its impoi-t. . 

Unless further evidence be adduced on this subject, I maintain my 
position, that Christ did not institute an order of ministers, but com- 
mitted the preaching of his Gospel equally to all his disciples. 

If, after this reference to the supreme authority, I may without 
iiapropriety refer to reasons of a general kind, I would respecttidly 
ask, why there should be in the world an order of ministers. J^or 
the care and edification of the chiu-ch there are required men at once 
of peculiar qualifications, and invested to a certam extent with the 
authority of Chi'ist; but nothing of this kind is reqiured for the 
world, since the diffusion of religious knowledge is that to which 
every convert is competent, and in which all converts ought to be 
engaged. An order of ministers, therefore, may justly be regarded 
as a mere superfiiiity, at once a human invention, and not without 
marks of human folly. ■, jxc ^^. t. 

Of this ecclesiastical conception it may not, perhaps, be dillicult to 
trace the origin. A pastor implies a fiock, and no man can be re- 
garded as holding the pastoral office unless in connexion with a people 
of whom he has charge. The office of the ministry, however, may 
be held in a general and al)stract mauuer, not having respect to any 
particular charge, but conferring, as is supposed, power and authority 
to administer the word and sacraments of the Gospel m any and 
every place. That the office of the ministry thus abstractly conceived 
of has been of great ecclesiastical convenience, both m and out of 
reHcdous estabUshments, I do not doubt ; but, as it is devoid of the 
authority of Christ, on the one hand, so, on the other, its direct ten- 
dency and effect are to supersede Christ's own appomtment— the office 
of the pastorate. . • ^ • <• 1 1 

It may be said, perhaps, that the office of the ministry is favourable 
to the diffusion of the Gospel, since a person invested with it preaches 
with a certain prestige and influence which predispose people to hear 
him Alas ! how totaUy I differ from this view, and how httle 1 can 
expect any one to agree with me who holds it ! I will avow the fact, 
however, let it go for what it may, that I regard the influence of the 
ministerial office as one of the gi-eatest impediments to the successful 
preaching of the Gospel. In so far as its influence is really felt by 
the hearers, it must inevitably supersede by the human the divme, 
and transform the word of God into the word of man; while it gives 
to the preacher a merely professional standing, and exposes him to 
suspicions of interested motives which are disastrously adverse to his 
design. The Gospel is much more likely to prevail when preached by 
a parent to his child, or -by a man to his neighbour. 

I woidd be allowed to ask, finally, whether there can be an order 
of ministers without more or less restrictmg that universal agency on 
which our Lord evidently relied. It is obvious that a professional 


ministry, as it is now extant, co-exists Vith a vast amount of indi- 
vidual inaction among the disciples of Jesus. It is the plea which is 
used to justify that inaction, and I believe it to be the sole parent of 
that inaction itself. Had there never been a professional ministry, 
there had never been an idle church. Nor can it be otherwise. 
There is no gradation in the commission, but what belongs to any 
belongs to all ; and no attempt can be made to fix its obligation with 
especial weight upon one order of men, without, in exact proportion, 
releasing all others from its yoke. 


Dear Brethren, — The words from which I propose to 
address you on this solemn occasion you will find in the 14th 
chapter of Revelation, and the 13th verse: — "Blessed are 
the dead which die in the Lord." 

Having already presented to you the series of magnificent 
visions in the midst of which this j)assage occurs,t I shall 
not here take any further notice of them, but shall regard 
the words I have read in their simplicity of evangelical 
meaning. "Blessed ai-e the dead who die in the Lord." 

I observe then, generally, that the text is partly descrip- 
tive, and partly declaratory. These two lights will be suffi- 
cient for our guidance through the meditations it suggests. 

I. The text is descriptive. It speaks of those " who die 
in the Lord." 

1. It speaks of those "who die." 

Yes, there are those " who die," as the weeds we wear this 
day too sorrowfully testify; and as, indeed, the habitations 
we occupy bear continual witness. In ti'uth, all die; the 
young and the old, the poor and the rich, the sick and the 
healthy, the busy and the idle, the peasant and the prince — 
ill die; for so "it is appointed unto all men" since "sin 
altered into the world, and death by sin." And none can 
<Bcape the doom. 

2. It speaks of those "who die in the Lord." 

Yes, there are those "who die in the Lord," as our i*ejoic- 
ilg memories assure us; but these are not all men. How 
mny, alas ! there are who cannot do so, having never heard 
e^n of the name of him who is able to save! And how 
m^ay, it may be said with still greater sorrow, of those who 


*:*reached at Camberwell, October 12th, 1862 ; on occasion of the death 
of ly-s. Steane. 
tyhe 14th chapter of Revelation had been previously read. 


have often heard it have not learned either to trust it, or to 
love! No, not all men "die in the Lord." 

But who, then, do so? And what is necessary to verify 
this description? 

A satisfactory answer to this question reqviires it to be 
viewed in two aspects — a negative and a positive. 

Positively, to "die in the Lord" requii'es more than a 
mere profession of religion, or a nominal Christianity. It 
requires a personal faith in our Lord Jesus Chi-ist, and a 
habit thence resulting of vital piety, and practical holiness. 
A religious profession is but a garment, with which, indeed, 
a genuine Christian may fitly be clothed, but under which, 
also, may lurk every form of woi'ldliness and iniquity. No, 
dear hearers, "the form of godliness," without "the power" 
of it, cannot save you. Only those who live to the Lord can 
" die in the Lord." 

Negatively, to "die in the Lord" does not requii-e a 
triumphant death, A happy deathbed experience, such as 
God sometimes — perhaps, often — grants to his children, un- 
doubtedly Jias its valvie, and I am far from wishing to depre- 
ciate it ; but it is not necessary to a satisfactory hope. In 
how many cases — as, indeed, in that which is now so affect- 
ingly before ns — does death occur in circumstances which 
allow no manifestation of the feelings; and in how many 
more is the deathbed rather serene than ecstatic, rather sus- 
tained than triumphant. In some instances, indeed, the 
exercises of the departing Christian may be obscure and 
anxious, his mind harassed with doubts, or agitated by 
conflict; and yet, through gi"ace, he shall be "more than 
conqueror," for he has lived to the Lord, and he dies "in thf 
Lord." Heed it not, brethren, amidst what experiences yoi 
may die. These may be affected by many cii'cumstances (f 
no real moment, or ordered for purposes of wisdom hiddei 
from your eyes. Leave the decision of this matter to you- 
Lord. Live to Christ, and die as he pleases. 

II. The text is declaratory. Its announcement s, 
*' Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." 

It cannot be the meaning of this language that to he 
saints death is a source of blessedness in itself Even to 
them it must involve both suflering, and loss. The ide; is, 
that those who die in the Lord are happy 
death, and, in pai't, by its instrumentality. Their great 'les- 


sedness is one with wliicli death cannot interfere, and to the 
full enjoyment of which, under divine arrangement, it helps 
to conduct them. 

In discoursuig on the happiness of the pious dead, it 
would be both natural and easy to enumerate and enlarge 
upon the general sources of future blessedness; such as the 
unveiled manifestation of the divine glory, the personal 
presence and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, the entire free- 
dom from siiL and sorrow, with other topics akin to these; 
familial', however, as I am sure yoiu- minds are Avith them, 
I shall on this occasion adopt a different line of thought. 

On looking closely at the general subject, it is obvious 
that the happiness of the pious dead arranges itself into two 
portions, divided from each other by two events of great 
importance to it — the resurrection of the body, and the final 
judgment. As these events do not occur till the end of the 
world, there is now a period of considerable, though to us of 
imdefLned length, between their occurrence and a Christian's 
departure out of this life. His futiu-e liappiness is thus, as 
I have said, divided into two portions : the first«antecedent 
to the resuiTection and the judgment, impei'fect and com- 
paratively brief; the second consequent upon these events, 
perfect and eternal. It is natui'al, and indeed ine\i.table, 
that the happiness of the pious dead during the former of 
these peiiods, should possess some peculiarities which it may 
be interesting to glance at; and afterwards we may obsei"ve 
how, by the resurrection and the judgment, it will be aug- 
mented and completed. 

I. I present to you, in the first place, a few thoughts 
respecting the former of these periods, or what is usually 
called the intermediate state. 

Our thoughts — often, pei'haps — approach this subject with 
an inquisitiveness the more acute and anxious, because it is 
that which comes into most immediate contact with our feel- 
ings, as the state into which we enter immediately upon 
death; there hangs over it, however, an obscurity which it 
has not been easy satisfactorily to penetrate. 

It has been supposed by some that immediately on death 
the soul sinks into a state — not of sleep, for that is a bodily 
condition — but of unconscioiisness resembling sleep; a state 
in which it remains until the sound of the last tiiimp 
awakens the body and the soul together, to a life which 


seems to have been not for a moment interrupted. The 
possibility of this cannot be questioned, bnt there are strong 
reasons why it cannot be accej^ted as a fact. Arbitrary 
and gratuitous in itself, and without any possible foun- 
dation in fact or direct knowledge, the supposition seems to 
be wholly irreconcilable with the language of Holy Writ. 
Take the text itself for an example: " Blessed are the dead 
who die in the Lord." And the force of this language is 
increased by the phrase immediately connected with it — 
" Blessed are the dead who die in the Liord/rom henceforth:" 
that is, as the best critics instruct us, from the moment of 
their death. Christian experience goes in the same direction. 
" I have a desire to depart," says Paul, " and to be with 
Chi'ist, which 'mfar better" (Phil. i. 23): but surely he could 
not have thought it "far better" to sink into unconscious- 
ness, than to live and labour as to him it was given. Nor, 
indeed, is the phrase, " to be with Christ," compatible with 
such a state; it assuredly implies the continuance of conscious 
life, only with a change of its object — as he says elsewhere, 
"absent from the body, and present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 
T. 8). 

It has been supposed by others that, admitting the con- 
tinuance of conscious life, the disembodied spu-its of the just 
reside in a separate place; not heaven in its highest sense, 
but a kind of subordinate heaven, to be called j^aradise. I 
say at once that I have no belief in the existence of any 
such place, intermediate between earth and heaven. The 
Hades of the ancient Greeks was a region comprehending 
both Elysium and Tartarus — their heaven and hell; and a 
region not intermediate, but of final residence, for they 
dreamed of no heaven or hell beside. And that the word, 
together with its representative in Hebrew, Sheol, was used 
in the same sense by the sacred writers is evident from our 
Lord's employment of it in the parable of the rich man and 
Lazarus (where, as elsewhere in our English Bibles, it is 
infelicitously translated hell); a parable of which the entire 
scene is laid in Hades, including both the fire in which the 
rich man is tormented, and the place where Abraham is 
sitting with Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke xvi.) As to the 
word paradise, respecting which the Rabbinical writers seem 
to have invented as many fables as the pagans did respecting 
Hades, and by which many eminent Christian divines have 


understood a region of secondary blessedness, I profess my 
acrreement with those critics who judge that Paul gives but 
a^'duplicate account of a single Aision, when he says that he 
was "cauc'ht up to the third heaven," and that he was 
"caught up into paradise" (2 Cor. xii. 2-4); the place being 
but one And in this sense I understand the address of our 
Lord to the dying thief— "This day shall thou be with me 
in paradise" (Luke xxiii. 43)- The question, indeed, seems 
to be settled by the language of the apostle, when he speaks 
of being '' present with the Lord;" for, as m a human body, 
Christ can be but in one place: and a heaven without the 
presence of Christ, would be a heaven as miserable in fact as 
the notion of it seems to be unscriptural. 

It is my full belief, therefore, that the pious dead are m 
heaven with Christ, and in possession of all the great 
elements of future happiness, those which characterize essen- 
tially both its former and its latter portion. It is obvious, 
however, that this felicity, as experienced antecedently to the 
resuiTection and the final judgment, must have some marked 
peculiarities, at which I shall now take a passing glance. 

Among these peculiarities I mention, first, the exercise of 

hope. , , 

Hope, the Christian's great helper on earth, may seem to 
take leave of him on the confines of heaven, when, to so 
great an extent at least, it is superseded by fruition. But it 
is not wholly so. Much, indeed— very much— of that which 
he has hoped for he then attains, but not all. His spirit is 
in glory, but his body is in the grave, a monument of triumph 
to the great conqueror, Death. Is it for ever to remain there ? 
It is not, and he knows it is not. He has taken the convic- 
tion with liim to heaven from earth, where he had learned to 
say—" I know that my Eedeemer liveth, and that he shall 
stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though, after my 
skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see 
God" (Job xix. 25, 26). For this he has yet to look forward 
and to hope, and to hope with a degree of confidence aug- 
mented by the lights of his advanced position. Nor is hope 
without patience. We mav regard him as adoptmg the 
language of the ancient patriarch— " All the days of my 
appointed time will I wait, tiU my change come. Thou shalt 
call, and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desu-e to the 
work of thy hands" (Job xiv. 14, 15). 


And not to the resurrection only is the longing of the 
glorified saint directed. The final judgment itself is to him, 
with all its solemnities, an object, not of dread, but of desire. 
In most important respects (of which I shall have to speak 
more fully presently) it is the destined period for the consum- 
mation of his felicity; and his hope may seem to breathe 
itself forth in the perpetual prayer — " Come, Lord Jesus, 
come quickly." 

As a second peculiarity of the blessedness of the pious 
dead antecedently to the resurrection, I may notice a lively 
interest in the aflau's of this world. 

Not, indeed, on personal or relative grounds ; but as the 
scene of God's vast administration of mercy. In this great 
object the disciple of Christ had begun to feel an interest 
while in this world, and he had felt himself privileged in 
being pei*mitted to link himself with its activities. And 
now he beholds the same object in greater grandeur. Before 
him are spread with a new celestial vividness the end to be 
attained, the methods — hei'e appearing so complicated, and so 
mysterious — by which it is to be reached, and the instru- 
mentalities to be employed for its accomplishment. The 
whole theatre of war is under his eye ; the contending hosts; 
the app>arent delay, but real progress. And can he look on 
the scene unmoved 1 A loving heart forbids. May we not 
conceive that with inexpressible interest he watches the 
progress and the issue of every conflict ; that with unutter- 
able eagerness he longs for the predestined triumph ; that if, 
while his all-wise Lord can wait, he can wait too, his inmost 
heart will echo the great angel's cry — " Thrust in thy sickle 
and reap, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe" (Rev. 
xiv. 15); and his loudest voice will be ready to repeat the 
ultimate acclaim — " Hallelujah ! for the Lord God omnipo- 
tent reigneth'"? (Rev. xix. 6.) "Which things," says the 
apostle, "the angels desire to look into." They, indeed, are 
" ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to the heirs of 
salvation" (Heb. i. 14). We do not know that departed 
saints are so ; but, if they are, it is surely not reluctantly 
that they come. 

A third peculiarity of the blessedness of the pious dead 
before the resurrection may be regarded as arising out of 
the perpetually shifting state of the population of the 
celestial world. Not that any are now driven from it, like 


the angels "who kept not their first estate j" but multitudes 
must be peii^etually coming into it. As yet, the "many 
mansions" prepared liy the love of him who has gone before 
are not full. The destined tenants are not only not arrived, 
perhaps they are not bi-ought into being, or they may be as 
yet pursuing the weary pathway of their mortal pilgrimage. 
They are, however, coming ; and all must come. The popu- 
lation of heaven, therefore, must be incessantly on the 
increase. But who shall tell how rapidly? It has been 
calculated, if I recollect rightly, that one human being is 
brought into this world every second of time j perhaps it 
may be almost as frequently that a redeemed spirit enters 
into the realms of gloiy. And, assiu'edly, those who have 
ah'eady entered are not indifferent to these wonderful acces- 
sions. What an intensely special interest they may have in 
some of the newly arrived ! In this they gTeet a pai'ent, in 
that they embrace a child ; here they recognize a relation, 
there a long-loved friend; now a pastor, then a group of 
fellow-Christians. Nor can they be indifferent to those who 
come fi'om the north and the south, the east and the west, 
from eveiy nation, and tribe, and kindred, and tongue, imder 
heaven, to sit down in the kingdom of God. With what 
shouts of welcome, perpetually renewed, must the heavens be 
ringing all the day long, while each that enters adds his 
emphatic note to the ceaseless song of praise. 

Such peculiarities — and others might, doubtless, be men- 
tioned — has heaven befoi-e the resurrection. It is heaven 
with sometliing of earth in it ; heaven not wholly detached 
from the graces and the sympathies of the lower world. 

2. But let us now direct ovu- attention to the remaining 
part of our subject ; and inquire in what manner, by the 
I'esurrection of the body and the last ju.dgment, the blessed- 
ness of those "who die in the Lord" will be augmented and 

It is not much that is told us respecting the manner in 
which these gi'eat events will be brought about, but a few 
points ai-e clearly indicated. 

At a period when the earth will be fully inhabited, and 
both its social enjoyments and public acti\T.ties will be at 
their height — mankind will be "eating and di'inking, marry- 
ing and giving in marriage" (Matt. xxiv. 38) — "the Lord 
himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the 


voice of the archangel, and the trump of God" (i Thess. 
iv. 16). On the actual nature, or cause, of the sound thus 
described it were vain to speculate ; it suiiices to know that 
with absolute suddenness it breaks on the world's ear, being 
heard at the same moment round the whole earth, and 
arresting all its affairs by its well-understood announcement, 
" The Judge is come." The scene of this great event is said 
by the apostle to be "in the air" (i Thess. iv. 17), or in the 
higher regions of the atmosphere. 

The description is thus continued by our Lord himself: — 
" When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the 
holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the thi'one of 
his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations" 
(Matt. XXV. 31, 32). The vast assembly is gradually formed 
by the combination of its several elements. "Them which 
sleep in Jesus he will bring Avith him" (i Thess. iv. 14), from 
that highest heaven where they have antecedently dwelt with 
him ; and, to meet these returning spii-its, their quickened 
bodies will rise from their graves. There will then remain 
on the earth some — perhaps many — followers of Jesus who 
have not died, and of their destiny the apostle gives us an 
account in the following terms : — " Behold, I show you a 
mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 
in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the 
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incor- 
ruptible, and we shall be changed" (i Cor. xv. 51, 52). It 
is to be supposed that a process somewhat similar in its order 
will take place in reference to the wicked. 

The immediate object of the resiuTCction is pre2)aration for 
the impending judgment. The reconstruction of the entire 
human personality is required for this purpose. It is man, 
the whole man, that has lived ; and it is man, the whole 
man, that must appear in judgment. Things done " in the 
body," are to be recompensed "in the body" (2 Cor. v. 10). 

To those who "die in the Lord" the judgment is a process 
of justification. It might seem, perhaps, as if the judgment 
would necessai'ily be a pi'ocess of examination and discrimina- 
tion of character; or as if the race would be assembled 
before the Judge in a promiscuous multitude, each individual 
to be subjected to a separate scrutiny, and then assigned to 
his appropriate class. It can scarcely be conceived, however, 
that, after so long and so blessed a separation, the righteous 


will again be mingled with the Avicked. With respect even 
to the saints who will be on earth at the coming of the Lord, 
tlie apostle distinctly says — " Fii'st the dead in Christ shall 
rise ; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up 
together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" 
(i Thess. iv. i6, 17). It is not possible, indeed, to conceive 
that, with God, chai-acter has remained until then unascer- 
tained, or unrecompensed ; the saints having undoubtedly 
been long in heaven, and the impenitent in hell. Nor, 
indeed, does the object of the great day seem to be the 
arrival at a decision on the jjart of God, so much as the 
manifestation to the assembled world, and attendant angels, 
of the justice of a decision already formed ; and in this sense 
the apostle must be understood to call it "the day of the 
revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Romans ii. 5), 
or of the making manifest, by the public exposition of cha- 
racter, the I'ighteousness of the judgment which he has 
formed, and already partially executed. 

The dead in Christ, therefore, appearing in the judgment 
as believers in Jesus, and the sincerity of theii' faith not 
only having been long recognized by the Judge, but then by 
the process of judgment made manifest to all, the great 
judicial act is simply a recognition that, by submitting to the 
righteousness of God, they have satisfied all the demands of 
the divine law, and stand legally justified before its admini- 
stratoi'. This, in substance, is nothing new. In their happy 
experience on earth they were "justified by faith," and as 
justified by faith they have enjoyed a period of blessedness in 
heaven ; but it is new in its circumstances, and in what is 
new it is a great addition to their happiness. Hitherto their 
satLsfactoiy relation to the divine government has been, as it 
were, a private matter, there having been no pubUc action of 
a judicial kind by which it could be officially recognized, or 
made generally known : to this extent, therefore, they might 
be said to have remained under the reproach of sin, though 
not under its ciu'se ; and it cannot but be an unspeakable 
addition to their feUcity that that reproach should be rolled 
away, and their legal righteousness through faith be officially 
recognized and proclaimed. 

And with what infinite pleasure will the Judge perform 
this pai-t of his functions ! Can there be any uncertainty 
whether he will recognize that perfect robe of righteousness 



whicli lie himself wrought out when he became "obedient 
unto death," and which his redeemed have so long worn ? 
Ah ! never did that white garment of unspotted righteous- 
ness appear with the splendour with which it shall shine 
amidst the lights of "eternal judgment." 

A second object of the judgment to those who "sleep in 
Jesus," is reward. "Their works do follow them;" not as 
meritorious deeds (for which, as justified, they have no occa- 
sion), but as expressions of love and grateful consecration to 
their Lord. It cannot be that so loving a heart should be 
oblivious of these ; and, in that day of administrative pomp and 
official dignity, they shall be publicly acknowledged. " Then 
shall the King say unto them on his right hand. Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom j^repared for you 
from the foundation of the world : for I was an Inmgered and 
ye gave me meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me drink" (Matt. 
XXV. 34, 35). The pai-able of the talents exhibits the same 
fact. " After a long time, the lord of those servants cometh 
and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five 
talents came and brought other five talents, saying. Lord, 
thou deliveredst unto me five talents ; behold, I have gained 
beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him. Well 
done, thou good and faithful servant : thou hast been faithful 
over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. 
Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matt. xxv. 19-21). 
Deeds of faithful service, indeed, and acts of loving sacrifice, 
are not unrewarded now; but, that their great reward may 
be conferred in a distinguished manner, the bestowment of 
it is assigned to the day when the whole race shall be 
assembled for the final act of the divine government, and 
when the declared approbation of the Judge will be the 
most illustrious honour that can be received. 

Ah ! my brethren, what an exhibition shall be made in that 
day of deeds of devotedness to Christ, of which the world has 
either known nothing, or thought little. From the acts of 
martyrs who have given their bodies to the flames, to the 
humblest disciple who has been assailed by the tongue of 
calumny; from deeds of heroic missionary labour, to the 
obscurest efforts of the Christian visitor ; from the amplest 
outpourings of Christian liberality, to the cup of cold water 
in the name of a disciple — all shall be remembered then, 
recognized in its loving motive, and recompensed with 


celestial bounty. But hoio recompensed who shall say? Into 
what realities of bliss the " Well done" shall expand itself, 
or the crowns and thrones — those earthly baubles which are 
employed metaphorically to help our conceptions — be inter- 
px'eted ] All we can say is, " The day shall declare it." 
Alas ! that a consciousness of our great unfaithfulness should 
suggest the probability of so many drawbacks from so mag- 
nificent a reward ! 

There is yet one joassage of Scripture which must not be 
jjassed unnoticed, although I fear I can throw little light on 
it. " Dare any of you," says the apostle, " having a matter 
against another, go to law before the unjust, and not 
before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall 
judge the world? . . . Know ye not that we shall judge 
angels?" (i Cor. vi. 1-3.) The language is striking, but it 
is impenetrably obscure. The commentators suggest several 
intei-pretations, but none of decisive weight. If it is to be 
understood in the sense that the saints, after their own 
justification and reward, are to be associated with Christ in 
the subsequent judgment of the wicked, it must be regai'ded 
simply as an act of infinite condescension adapted to do them 
honour. An honour how great ! and, considered in its 
motive, how gratifying ! 

The judgment being accomplished, it is now that the 
gladness of the resurrection will be fully realized. 

It is, in the first instance, an illustj;ious triumjih over 
death. The victims of the King of Terrors and the univer- 
sal Conqueror ai'C rescued from his grasp, and the peiished 
tenants of that long-sealed chamber, the grave, come foi'th 
to a restored and expanded life. " This corruptible puts on 
incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality. So when 
this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this 
mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought 
to pass the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in 
victoiy" (i Coi'. XV. 53, 54). O how rejoicingly shall the 
spirits of the pious dead welcome the return of these long- 
lost partners of their being, Avhich thrilled -mill the feelings, 
■Nvi'ought out the activities, and boi'e the sorrows, of their 
eai-thly existence ! And the body will be restored, not in 
the condition in which it was parted with. " It was sown 
in corruption, it is raised in incorruption ; it was sown in 
dishonour, it is X'aised in glory; it was sown in weakness, it 


is raised in power ; it was sown a natm*al body, it is raised 
a spiritual body" (i Cor. xv. 42-44). No longer a liotbed 
for disease, bearing its bitter and multiform fruits ; no longer 
an instrument too feeble for the energies required to employ 
it; no longer composed of materials uncongenial with its 
more refined occupant : it is now a spiritual body, with 
powers altogether adequate to the wants of the spmt of 
wMch it is the vehicle ; imposing no restriction upon either 
intelligence, emotion, or action ; and in no degi'ee incapable 
of wearing the honours of heaven, or sympathizing in its 

j°y^- . . ... 

It is still more delightful to add, that the raised bodies of 

the saints will be "fashioned like unto his glorious body" 

(Phil. iii. 21), by virtue of whose resurrection they have 

risen. Beyond question, the human body of our Lord Jesus 

Christ must have assumed the most glorious appearance 

which it is possible even for divine wisdom and power to 

give it. It might have been thought it would be unique, 

but, wonderful to say ! it is a pattern. It is now the 2MUern 

to which all shall be conformed. The body of each of the 

pious dead shall be "fashioned like \into" it. Not, assuredly, 

so that, as in his case, the gloiy of the indwelling divinity may 

shine through ; but so, perhaps, that the glory which shines 

upon them may be reflected from them, and thus constitute 

a more perfect resemblance. 

Thus will redenjjption be perfected, and the happiness of 
the pious dead be made complete. Then sliall the song be 
sung with a meaning and an emphasis which it never reaches 
on earth : — "O death ! whei-e is thy sting 1 O grave ! where 
is thy victory? . . . Thanks be to God who giveth us the 
victory, through our Loi'd Jesus Christ" (i Cor. xv. 55-57). 

But I check myself I can go no further — perhaps I have 
already gone too far. Let us reverently say, " Blessed" — for 
ever blessed — "are the dead who die in the Loi-d." 

Dear hearers ! which of you will possess this blessedness ? 
Let me ask, rather, which of you will lose it? Is it not a 
thought to stir you into earnestness, that such felicity is 
placed within your reach ? But give yourself to Jesus — no 
more. And is that condition too hard ? But, if this be lost, 
O sinner ! vihat then ? 

O Christian ! what is before you ? Sorrow, you reply, and 
sickness, death, and the gi'ave. All ! you look too near, and 


too low. Can you not lift up yoiu- eyes a little, and catch a 
glimpse of the brighter things beyond? "Blessed are the 
dead who die in the Lord." 

What sweet thoughts our meditations furnish in remem- 
brance of those whom death takes from us ! With us, 
indeed, they are no more; yet "not lost, but gone before," 
where those " who sleep in Jesus" are so happy. Can we 
repine that they are gone ] 

" ! 'tis a heaven worth dying for." 

Mrs. Steane, whose removal dresses so many of us in 
weeds to-day, was of honourable descent. She was a grand- 
daughter of the late Rev. Abraham Booth, one of the most 
distinguished among the ministers of the Baptist denomina- 
tion. She was called by divine grace in early youth ; and 
having, with several members of the family of which she 
was the eldest daughter, been baptized at Camberwell by 
Mr. Steane, who had recently settled there, she became a 
member of the Independent Chiirch on Clapham Common, 
then under the pastoral care of the Kev. Mr. Brown. Under 
the influence of a gentle constitutional temperament, com- 
bined with a sedulous moral cultiu-e, her character was 
eminently matured before she assumed the weightier respon- 
sibilities of her life ; and in the midst of these she habitually 
conducted herself with distinguished prudence and goodness. 
Hers was emphatically the "meek and quiet spiiit, which is 
in the sight of God of great price." Her just and simple 
eulogy may be, that she never said an unkind thing, and 
never did a wrong one. For a lengthened period of her life 
her health was too feeble to allow her to take an active share 
in what may be generally regarded as the duties of the 
pastor's wife ; however, in many quiet ways she did " what 
she could," while the influence of her practical goodness and 
wisdom was felt through the whole church, and contributed 
largely to its unbi'oken peace and prosperity. During eight- 
and-twenty years she was the pastor's earthly solace and 
strength, and the sunshine of a pious and affectionate 
domestic life, amidst the joys and virtues of which she was 
pei'mitted to train two beloved children — three had died in 
infancy — for God, and for his service. 

I have ah-eady said that Mrs. Steane had been for many 
years an invalid. It was'not heart-disease, however, although 


this liad long impaired lier strength, that, unless indu'ectly, 
laid her low in death. On the night of Friday, September 
the 26th, she experienced a stroke of paralysis, from the first 
severity of which she never recovered. Almost to her last 
breath, indeed, she retained her consciousness, and lovingly 
recognized the membei's of her family; but she never regained 
her power, either of speech or motion, so that any expression 
of her feelings, either as to her condition of sufiering, or her 
approaching change, might become possible. In the latter 
respect, indeed, fondly treasured as a few — a very few — dying 
words might have been, there was no necessity for them. 
Her devout habits and her holy life have left a testimony, to 
which a triumphant deathbed, however it might have added 
emphasis, could have added no conviction. In a small degree 
commvmicative of her religious feelings, she evidently lived 
to the Lord ; and we confidently apply to her the words we 
have been considering, " Blessed are the dead who die in the 
Lord." She tranquilly breathed her soul into his hands on 
the morning of Tiiesday, September the 3otli, 

My dear friend and brother, be thankful that God gave 
you such a companion. And you, dear children, l)e thankful 
that he gave you such a mother : 

"whose faith follow; considering THE END OF HER 


"The genei-al assembly and chm-cli of the first-born, which are written 
in heaven." — Hebrews xii. 23. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews — that is, to the disciples of 
Jesus who were of the Hebrew race — has a peculiar charac- 
ter, as Christianity itself assumed towards the Jewish people 
a peculiar position. They and their fathers had lived under 
a dispensation of divine institution, and observed ritual ser- 
vices of sui'passing beauty ; and they could hardly understand 
a system whicli proposed to extinguish the fire on their altar, 
and to overthrow the very foundation of their temple. This 
difficulty Paul, in this epistle, endeavours to meet. He 
shows how Christ, the " Son," was superior to Moses, the 
"servant;" and he illustrates at large the greater excellency 
of the priesthood of Jesus, as compared with that of Aaron. 
He demonstrates, indeed, that the Jewish ritual was never 
so glorious as it was in its expiring moments, when its latest 
beams fell on the head of the present Saviour, and when, 
in return, it received from his cross that reflected lustre 
amidst the brilliance of which it was about to vanish away. 

At the close of the epistle — in the interesting passage of 
which the text is a part — the apostle draws a comparison, 
or rather a blended comparison and contrast, between the 
Mosaic and the Christian dispensations, indicating at once 
the points in which they agreed, and those in which they 
differed. At verse i8, he says concerning believers in Jesus 
at large, "Ye are not come unto the mount that might" — 
or rather, could — " be touched." The negative here implies 
a positive. The complete idea is, that, as the Israelites stood 
before God at Mount Sinai, there to enter into covenant 
with him, so believers in Jesus enter solemnly into covenant 

* Preached at Oldham, November 9th, 1862, on occasion of the death 
of the Rev. John Bii-t. 


with God as at a moimt; only the mount at which Israel 
stood was a mount that could be touched — that is to say, it 
was of a tangible, or earthly, nature; whereas the mount at 
which believers in Jesus stand cannot be touched — it is not 
earthly, but spiritual. The phrase here employed by the 
apostle may be applied to all parts of the Jewish ritual, and 
is aptly expressive of its secular, or carnal, character. Their 
altar could be touched, their sacrifice could be touched, their 
priest could be touched; not so the Christian priest, or sacri- 
fice, or altar, for all these are not carnal, but spiritual. 

There was another resjDect in which the approach of the 
Israelites to God did not resemble that of believers in Jesus. 
They came to a mount " that burned with fire, and unto 
blackness, and darkness, and tempest; and the sound of a 
tiaimpet, and the voice of words," which they entreated that 
they might hear no more (ver. 18, 19): but believers in 
Jesus do not draw near to God amidst terrors such as these. 
There was, indeed, another mount, even in Jewish history, 
much more characteristic of their privileged access; it was 
"Mount Zion" (ver. 22), on which pei^Detual calm and sun- 
shine rested — a calm and sunshine sweetly emblematical of 
those tokens of mercy amidst which the heavenly Father 
receives those who approach him in Jesus. 

For the secular Israel there had been provided a home — a 
place of social enjoyment as weM as of divine fellowship — 
Jerusalem, "the city of the living God;" and it is the same 
with believers in Jesus, only they come to a better than an 
earthly home, to " the heavenly Jerusalem" (ver. 22). 

In their approach to God the secular Israel had been 
associated with " angels," by whose instrumentality, accord- 
ing to the apostle in another place, the ritual " law was 
ordained" (Gal. iii. 19), and of whom, in the language of 
the Psalmist (Psalm Ixviii. 17), "myriads" attended the 
divine Majesty on Sinai ; but believers in Jesus come into 
association with "an inn umerable company of angels" (ver. 
22) — with the entire angelic host, who contemplate with 
celestial sympathy the scheme and progress of h\iman re- 

To these particulars of difierence and resemblance the 
apostle, in our text, adds another of great beauty and 
intei-est. Believers in Jesus, he tells us, " are come to the 
general assembly and church of the first-born, which are 


written in heaven." On this part of the comparison I shall 
offer a few further remarks. 

The view that I shall take of these words is very simple. 
I shall regard them as exhibiting the happiness of believex's 
in Jesus in two aspects — the former relating to tliis world, 
the latter to the world to come. The happiness, I say, of 
believers in Jesus. Dear hearer, believest thou ? so that thou 
may est say, This happiness is mine? 

I. In the fii'st place, these words present an interesting 
view of the happiness of believers in Jesus in the present 
world. It does so in two particulars. 

I. In the fii'st place they are called "the first-born." 
This, of coiu'se, implies that they are childi'en, and this is 
the first idea that presents itself to us. 
. At an early period God gave tliis appellation to the people 
whom he was about to redeem. By Moses he said to 
Pharaoh, " Israel is my son, even my first-born " (Exodus 
iv. 22). And so the apostle elsewhere speaks, "Ye are all 
the childi'en of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Gal. iii. 26). 

How sweet a thought is this! The tenderest affection 
which human nature knows is that of the pai'ent's heart. 
A father'? How much the word tells of gentle, inexhaustible, 
devoted love ! And what an honour God has done to the 
parental relation to call himself by such a name ! And we 
are his children ! 'Tis much to be called a servant of God. 
Angels esteem it an honour, and even Christ himself was 
not ashamed of the name. It is more to be called a friend 
— so our Lord said to his disciples, "I call you not servants, 
but I have called you friends" (John xv. 15); biit it is still 
more to be called a child. It confers a higher dignity, it 
breathes a more tender love. 

Some children have no father. Pei'haps dishonour forbids 
the relation to be avowed, and constrains the father to hide 
his head in shame; or death may have I'udely rent asunder 
this tenderest of living ties, and left the child in this rough 
world an orphan. But the cliildren of God are not father- 

Some children have fathers who are worse than none: 
perhaps a father whose vices cover his child from its very 
bii'th with disgrace, whose intempeiance dooms it to poverty, 
or whose example leads it to crime. Not such a father have 
the children of God. 


Some children have fothers who, possessing small means, 
can do little to promote their welfare, and live only to 
bequeath to their children the poverty and obscurity in 
which they were born. And the privilege which a child 
possesses in a father rises in proportion to the excellence of 
the parent's character, and the copiousness of his resources. 
Happy is the child who has a father of high integrity, of 
unblemished purity, and of expansive benevolence, so that to 
bear his name is a perennial honour. Happy is the child 
who has a lather of ample wealth and extensive influence, so 
that his children can be well placed in the world. Happy is 
the child who has a father of noble descent and elevated 
position — perhaps of royal blood, or seated on a throne. 
But, ! my brethren, how all these elements of happmess 
vanish when compared with the felicity of those who are 
children of God ! Of God — in whom, in infinite perfection, 
all elements combine, — of moral excellence, of material 
wealth, and of supreme honour. Is it his children we arel 
and ai-e we not happy? 

We have not yet arrived, however, at the whole of the 
apostle's idea. He says that believers in Jesus are not only 
God's chikh-en, but that they are his "first-born." It might 
almost seem as if he had here committed a mistake^ for, 
while all first-born must be children, not all children can be 
first-born. The explanation, however, is this. Expressive as 
the term child is, the apostle felt that it came far short of a 
believer's actual privilege; and as there is in many cases a 
peculiar prerogative, not of afiection only, but of title or 
inheritance, attached to the first-born, he takes up this 
element, in order to indicate that, whatever prerogative may 
in earthly families attach to the fii-st-born, a similar advan- 
tage may be regarded as belonging to the whole family of 
God. All his children are as the first-born. 

And yet it might still seem as though the apostle had 
fallen into an error. For is not the name atid prerogative 
of the first-born already pre-occupied 1 Jesus is the first- 
born of the family of God, and he well deserves the honour : 
who among the children would take it from him? Ah! my 
brethren, how inadequately do we estimate the love of that 
tender and noble heart! It is for us he lives. What to him 
are honours and rewards, except as he may shai*e them with 
his brethren? Or what to him the prerogative of the first- 
born, but that he may diffiise it among all the children? 


2. In the second place, tlie apostle says of believers in 
Jesus that their names " are written in heaven." 

The great promise of the Messiah, who, as the seed of 
Abraham through Isaac and Jacob, was to be born in one of 
the families of Israel, attached a peculiar importance among 
the Jews to family records ; and accordingly gi-eat care was 
bestowed in entering in these records the name of every 
child, in order that the pedigree of any particular person 
might be readily and clearly ascei-tained. Now, as the 
names of the secular children of God were thus written, so 
the names of believei's in Jesus, who are God's spiritual 
children, are said to be written; that is to say (taking the 
meaning of the metaphor), the children of God ai'e as 
clearly known, and their title to a j^lace in his family is as 
readily traceable, as if they were wi-itten in a household 
record. The diftereuce was this: the families of Israel had 
their children written on earth; the true children of God 
" are written in heaven." 

There is also this further difference. No name was placed 
on the register of an Israelitish family until the child was 
born; but the names of the children of God have been 
written in the heavenly record ' ' from the foundation of the 
world." God's "eternal purpose and grace" is entered 
there, a purpose which time assuredly fulfils. And that 
record is of certain and unchangeable truth. No name is 
written tliere except a child's; and none once written there 
can ever be obliterated. 

II. Let us now advert, in the second place, to the view 
of the believei''s happiness here given by the apostle as it 
relates to another world. Believers in Jesus are come, he 
tells us, " to the general assembly and church of the first- 

" The ear," said Elihu, one of the friends of Job, "trieth 
words, as the mouth tasteth meat " (Job xxxiv. 3). And 
the ear is assuredly not satisfied with these words as they 
fall upon it. "The general assembly and church" — tliis is 
the unsatisfactory word — "and church of the first-born." 
Now a church is either, on the one hand, a building for 
religious purposes, or, on the other, a company of professedly 
religious persons; but in neither of these senses is the word 
applicable to the future "general assembly of the first- 
born." Obviously, we want some other word to express the 


true idea of the place, and our only method of finding one 
is to refer to the original langviage. Now, I do not like 
introducing Greek criticism into the pulpit; but I will, as 
urged by necessity, venture on a little now, more especially 
as it can be made plain to the most untaught reader of the 

In the form of an adjective, we have in the English 
language the Greek word which is here translated church. 
We familiarly speak of affairs ecclesiastical, which every one 
knows ai'e affairs belonging to the church. Ecclesia, then, 
the basis of this adjective, thus stands for church. Now 
ecclesia is a Greek word, and is the Greek word which in 
the text is translated church. It is to be observed, however, 
that church is neither the necessary, nor the primary, mean- 
ing of ecclesia, of which a plain and simple pr^of can be given 
without going out of the English New Testament. In the 
nineteenth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, after the 
account of the riot at Ephesus raised by Demetrius, the 
silversmith, the writer says that the town-clerk, when he 
had appeased the people, "dismissed the assembly" (Acts 
xix. 41) — that is, the ecclesia, for this is the word here 
employed. It is plain, then, that, in Greek, the word ecclesia 
does not necessarily mean a church in any sense; it means 
rather an assembly for some common object, whatever that 
object may be. So the riotous gathering at Ephesus was an 
ecclesia; and so persons collected at a market, or an exliibi- 
tion, or for any common object, are an ecclesia. 

Another instance of this simple use of the word ecclesia 
occurs in the seventh chapter of Acts, where our translators 
make Stephen speak of "the church in the wilderness" 
(Acts vii. 38). He calls the Israelites only an ecclesia, how- 
ever — that is, an assembly having a common object; and in 
this sense our translators ought to have understood it. 

Let us now return to our text, and avail oui'selves of the 
result of our critical researches. We do not like the word 
church; but the word assembly will exactly suit us. We 
shall understand the apostle to speak of the "assembly of 
the first-born." We know that there were such assemblies 
among the Israelites. Three times in every year, at the 
three principal festivals, were the people at large gathered 
together at Jerxisalem, making each other glad ui the city of 
their holy solemnities. 


"We seem now, however, to- involve ourselves in another 
difficulty; as the word "assembly" occurs just before, and 
our text will now read— "The general assembly and assembly 
of the first-born." We must see, therefore, what light can 
be throwTi on the former of these phrases. 

Now the apostle has here made use of a word which also 
•we have in English, and which in Greek has a signification 
at once peculiar and definite. All are acquainted with the 
English word ^xoiet/^/ric, a word by which we mean some 
wai-m expression of praise. This is strictly a Greek word, 
the pronimciation only being a little altered; and in the 
Greek language its root {iravYivpi^) is used specifically to 
denote a particvdar festival, periodically celebrated by the 
ancient Greek republics. Either every year, or once in four 
years, a meeting was held of all the citizens, or persons pos- 
sessing the freedom of the state, and its object was political; 
namely, by the association of the citizens in public amuse- 
ments, to cherish then- spirit of political union. At the 
close of these games, it was the custom for an orator to pro- 
n6unce a poem composed for the occasion, in praise of the 
founder of the state ; the poem taking its name from the 
name of the assembly, and being called a panegyi'ic. 

The use of this term by the apostle makes it plain beyond 
doubt that the idea of these pagan festivals was in his mind, 
and that he was combining it \di\\ the remembrance of the 
more familiar festivals of liis own countiy. We shall express 
the whole of his thought if we say—" The general festive 
assembly of the fii'st-born." 

We have, then, two ideas before us : the first is that of a 
general assembly — the second that of a festive assembly, of 
the childi-en of God. Let us look for a few moments at 

I. There wiU hereafter be a "general assembly" of the 
cliildren of God. 

But how do we know this? And fi'om what causes is such 
an assembly to arise? 

The fact of its gi'adual fonnation may be understood 
without difficulty. Let us fix our eyes, for example, on any 
believer in Jesus, and trace his passage through this weary 
world. He may spend bis days tranquilly in a single spot, 
or he may traverse the ocean, or wander in foreign lands; 
but at length he dies: and whither does he go ? He goes to 


Jesus, and is "with the Lord." Observe now another, whose 
life pei'haps takes a widely different course, and terminates 
in a distant region : whither does he, also, go 1 He goes to 
Jesus too; and thus, in the presence of a common Saviour, 
they meet each other. And so with all the rest. Each 
finds his home with Jesus ; and this common attraction 
brings them all together, and forms "the general assembly" 
of the children of God. 

A general assembly, moreover, is insured by their filial 
and fraternal relation. Their Father has a home for them, 
where they must all appear. " In my Father's house," said 
our Lord, "are many mansions: I go to prepare a place for 
you" (John xiv. 2). Every mansion has its destined tenant, 
and will in the end be found occupied by him for whom it 
has been prepared. How deep a sorrow would it spread 
through all the house, if over even a single apartment it 
Avere written — " Not ariived. Lost in the wilderness. 
Perished in battle !" But no such disap2)ointment awaits 
the father's love, or the brothers' hope. All shall be there — 
the Feebleminds and the Muchafraids, as well as the Great- 
hearts; for the eternal love which has conferred their title 
will secure their passage through every danger, and bring 
them in triumph home. Their names "are written in 
heaven," and, when the roll is read, they must personally 
answer to the call. 

There will, then, be a " general assembly" of the children 
of God.* How sweet the thought is ! 

How unlike will that assembly be to any condition in 
which the children of God have antecedently been found! 
Hitherto they have been necessarily spoken of as the children 
of God who have been " scattered abroad." Scattered all of 
them through the various ages of the world, the future as 
well as the past; while those of the same age are scattered 
through the various countries of the world, so that they have 
never been even within sight of each other: stars of the 
world's night few, and almost solitary, rather than by their 
close association creating a blaze of light in the midnight 
sky. Nor is it easy to bring together even those of the 
children of God who reside near each other, as in the same 
country, or even in the same town ; partly, because it is im- 
possible with certainty to discriminate them, partly, because 
sectarian arrangements divide them, and partly, because their 


number would render the attempt futile. But herein heaven 
^vill differ from earth. There will be a " general assembly" 
of the first-born; a multitude "which no man can number," 
gathered from every age and from every nation, a multitude 
in which all occasions and elements of separation have dis- 
appeared for ever. 

What a beautiful object such an assembly is for contem- 
plation ! A general assembly of the children of God ! All 
the objects of his eternal love, all the ransomed by redeeming 
blood, then for tlie first time embodied in a single gi'oup, and 
seen as one ! How noble a company, from which are severed 
all the abominable and the vile, and in which are united all 
the sanctified and the godlike, of the human race ! 

And how intei'estiug and blessed a field is opened for 
hallowed intercourse and friendship ! It is the first moment 
in which such a thing has been possible. In all former and 
partial assemblies, even of the children of God, there have 
been elements of discord. Scarcely could a few hundred, or 
a few score, of them be associated on earth, but selfishness 
and petulance, to say nothing of greater evils, would torment 
and divide them ; but that is over now. Now, and for the 
fij'st time, are the children of God in a condition so holy that 
they are fit to form a general assembly, for now all shall be 
peace and love eternal. 

I spoke of hallowed intercourse and friendship ; for it 
cannot be that the general assembly of the children of God 
shall be, as sometimes one finds in this world, a mere ci-owd, 
in which every one is a stranger, and no one knows the coun- 
tenance of his neighboui". tell me not that we shall not 
know each other ! Nor ask me how. I admit that that 
question is unanswerable. I admit that none of tlie forms 
of human beauty with which we are now acquainted are 
worthy of being transferred to the celestial regions, and that 
none of the modes of personal recognition which are preva- 
lent here can be conceived as existing there: but I cannot 
believe that the children of God, in their "general assembly," 
will be buried in mutual personal unacquaintedness. They 
were not so on earth, still less can they be so in heaven. 
Where thei-e is to be love, there must be knowledge. 

And, if knowledge, friendsliip. How perfect and ample is 
the preparation for it ! A nd of the mightier heroes of our 
race — our first progenitor, the patriarchs, prophets, and 


aj)ostles — liow rich is our introductory knowledge ! To an 
extent not small we are acquainted with them already, and 
can embrace them hereafter as objects of an ancient love; 
while, amidst the lights of the celestial world, all human life 
and history may be expected to display itself with a breadth 
and vividness at present inconceivable. It shall assuredly, 
be no hard matter for the children of that family to know 
one another. 

2. Let us come now to the second thought which is before 
us. There is to be hereafter, not only a "general assembly," 
but a ^^ festive assembly," of the children of God. 

When we speak of a festive assembly, the general idea is 
one of gladness. And thus Isaiah speaks : " The ransomed 
of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and 
everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and 
gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 
XXXV. 10). And, indeed, there will be many causes of glad- 
ness in that assembly. 

The first cause of gladness may well be to find ourselves 
there. Ourselves, who have come through so much un worthi- 
ness, so many dangers, and so many fears ; who have so often 
trembled in our weaknesses, and have all but given up the 
hope of arrival. But there at last ! There, where every 
hope is consummated, and every fear disappointed ; there^ 
where toil ends in rest, and conflict in Adctory; there, where 
for the first time we may lay down both the pilgrim's stafi", 
and the warrior's sword; there, with a cei'tainty that we have 
fought our last battle, have shed our last teai', and have com- 
mitted our last sin ! Gladness indeed ! 'Twere hard not to 

Added to the joy of finding ourselves there will be that of 
finding others there. Some whom we expected to find there 
it will be our happiness to greet; our parents, our cliildren, 
our friends, our fellow-Christians- — with whom, for a longer 
or a shorter period, we trod ^his A^ale of tears in hallowed 
company, and oft rejoiced and wept together. Though for a 
time, however, we lived in company, we did not — might not 
— die in company. Some went before into theu- rest, and 
left dear companions still treading the weary road ; but there 
all meet again in gladness and in songs. O ! what a joyous 
welcome each shall give, and each receive ! " So, you are 
here ! Thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory!" 


And some, doubtless, we may gi-eet in that assembly wKom. 
we did not expect to meet there : some who, during our resi- . 
dence below, were unconcerned about salvation, and were, 
perhaps, pursuing courses of profligacy or crime, or wandering 
in regions unknown to us — some of these may, in the riches 
of divine grace, be brought, first to Christ, and then to 
heaven. O what joy to meet in that "general assembly" 
such as these, and, clasping them in a fond embrace, to ex- 
claim — " And you too T' 

To these immediate sources of gladness will doubtless be 
added some of a more general kind. Then " the mystery of 
God shall be finished," and his deep counsels be wrought out 
to their consummation. His elect "from the four winds of 
heaven" shall all have a ti'ibute to render to his praise, and 
in heartfelt sympathy the whole multitude shall thrill with 
joy, and burst into song. 

One topic only remains. In the festive gatherings at 
Jerusalem the high praises of Israel's God were proclaimed 
in many a sacred ode. And I have mentioned that, in the 
political meetings of the Gi-ecian states, there was recited iu 
each a poem in honour of the founder. Ah! my brethren, 
shall there be, in the general assembly of the first-born, no 
song in honour of the Author of so great happiness ? And 
who shall compose that song"? Shall they summon Moses, the 
poet of the Exodus; or David, the lyrist of Israel; or Isaiah, 
the seer afar off of Messiah's glory] Ah ! needless inquiry. 
That song is ready to burst from every heart and every 
tongue. Listen to its strains. " Unto him that loved us, 
and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and made us 
kings and jiriests to God and his Father, to him be glory 
and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen." 

" The general festive assembly of the first-born." Dear 
hearers, which of you will be there 1 And, if you are not 
there, where will you be % There is but one gathering-place 
besides, and there is no gladness, but " wailing and gnashing 
of teeth." Do any of you mean to be there 1 — That which 
confers a title to a place in " the general assembly of the 
first-boi'n" is believing in Jesus. Have you felt your need 
of him, as a lost sinner needs a Saviour 1 Have you given — 
will you give — your hearts to him, in simple trust and 
loving devotedness "? O listen to his call! "Him that 
Cometh unto me I will in nowise cast out" (John vi. 37). 



Believer in Jesus ! a place in " the general assembly of the 
first-born" is prepared for you. Ah ! how often you are 
doubtful of it, and how you would rejoice to have your 
doubts cleared away ! From the midst of your weaknesses 
and trials you look wistfully, rather than hopefully, to the 
final gathering. But mark the force of the apostle's language : 
" Ye are come," says he — not ye shall come — " ye are come 
to the general festive assembly of the first-bom." Not yet in 
fact, for the toils and dangers of your pilgrimage as yet sur- 
round you; but by a secure and indefeasible title you are 
come to it. By grace your arrival is as secure as if you were 
already there. 

And it is thither they go, our fellow-believers in Jesus, 
whom divine providence takes away from our circles of 
domestic love. "Not lost, but gone before:" added one by 
one to that ever-growing assembly to which we also shall, 
through grace, be joined, and which shall be ultimately per- 
fected. Shall we repine that they go before us ? Especially 
when we hope so soon to meet them again 1 

And thither he is gone, the senior pastor of this church, 
whose recent removal has clothed so many of us in weeds 
to-day, and of whom you will now expect from me some 
brief memorial. 

The Rev. John Birt was the eldest son of the late Rev. 
Isaiah Bii-t, and was born at Plymouth Dock, now Devon- 
port, of the Baptist church at which place his father was 
then pastor, on the 7th of January, 1787. In his early 
youth he removed to Coleford, in Gloucestershire, where he 
resided for several years, and was actively engaged in secular 
business. At the age of seventeen he was baptized by the 
Rev. W. Bradley, then pastor of the Baptist church at Cole- 
ford, of which he became a member. In his twentieth year 
a spirit of active piety directed his thoughts to the Christian 
ministry; in his twenty-first year he was engaged in preach- 
ing in the villages near Coleford; and viltimately, at the call 
and recommendation of the church, he relinquished business, 
and devoted himself entirely to ministe)'ial work. The object 
of his life being thus changed, Mr. Birt spent two years in 
theological studies, under the direction of the late Rev. 
James Dore, of Maze Pond, London. At the close of this 
period he received a call from the church at Coleford, then 



destitute; but his first pastoral settlement took place at 
Hull, in the year 181 2, and connected him with the church 
at George Street in that town, a church whom he sein^ed in 
love and usefulness for ten years. In 1822 he accepted a 
call from the Baptist chvu-ch at York Street, Manchester, 
and the following twenty years of his life were devoted to 
their service, not without tokens of the divine blessing. In 
1842 Mr. Birt removed to Oldham,. and took the oversight 
of the first Baptist church in this town. His active labours 
here continued for fourteen years, wiftli a large measure of 
success; but in 1856 they were interrupted by a paralytic 
seizure, from the effects of which he never so far recovered 
as to be able to enter the pulpit again, and only three or 
four times did he officiate at the Lord's table. Through six 
years of bodily debility was he called upon to exercise "the 
patience of the saints;" and he was at length released from 
suffering by a further seizure of the same kind, under which 
he gradually sank until Thiu'sday, the 30th of October, when 
he "fell asleep" in his chair with so much gentleness that 
his death was scarcely perceptible. He died in the fiftieth 
year of his ministry, and the seventy-sixth year of his age. 

Mr. Birt's natural characteristics were good sense, good 
taste, good judgment, and good temper; and out of these, 
under the discipline of experimental religion, grew a charac- 
ter eminently amiable in private, and wise in public, life. 
Without taking rank among the popular preachers of his 
day, his pulpit discourses were solid and judicious, while his 
pastoral deportment was attentive and affectionate, and his 
conduct of church affau's was orderly and gentle. The 
acceptableness and success of his ministry may be partially 
estimated from the fact, that, during the fourteen years of 
liis active labour, about three hundred persons were baptized 
and added to this church by him, while many instances of 
the usefulness of his preaching appeai*ed subsequently to his 
illness. It may be stated also, that, about the year 1853, 
an offset from the parent stock was j^lanted at Mills Hill, 
distant about two miles, where a second church was formed 
of thii-ty-four members. To this people Mr. Bii-t preached 
once a month while his sti-ength remained. 

Happy, and conferring happiness, in domestic life, in the 
social circle Mr. Birt exhibited unusual convei'sational 
powei-s, his natural aptitude being well sustained by his large 


and varied stores of general information. He was a man of 
public spirit, well qualified by a sound and discriminating 
judgment to form and to express an opinion on all the great 
questions of the day, a consistent Dissenter, and of liberal 
political sentiments. He was not, however, an eager politi- 
cian. In all general religious movements — the British and 
Foreign Bible Society, for example — he was ready, and 
forward ; and he took, a lively and practical interest in 
the great struggle of British justice and benevolence with 
colonial slavery. 

When yet a young man Mr. Birt assumed a respectable 
position as an author. In 1813, the year after his settle- 
ment at Hull, he put forth a small volume entitled " The 
Conversations of Erastus and Trophimus," in which he vindi- 
cated "the doctrine of distinguishing grace" as maintained 
by the Moderate Calvinists. In 1823 he published a larger 
volume — "A Summary of the Principles and History of 
Popery;" and in 1846 a third and still larger volume, under 
the title of " Patristic Evenings" — a work bearing striking 
witness to the extent and variety of his theological reading. 
Besides these, a considerable number of smaller productions 
issued from his pen. 

The main work of Mr. Birt's life, however, was the 
ministry of the Gospel — that noblest and most fruitful of 
human toils — to which he was permitted to devote himself 
for forty-four years without the illness of a single day, and 
in which he was, by divine grace, enabled to maintain a 
character altogether without blemish. That he did not 
labour without reward is already demonstrated by many 
proofs, and will doubtless be more fully demonstrated in the 
great harvest-day. 

We must largely mingle gratitude with our regrets, on the 
tei^mination of a life which may be regarded as having been 
singularly honoured and blessed; a life protracted, too, not 
only beyond the ordinary term of human existence, but also 
beyond the power of active labour; and closing so serenely — 
for his long evening had scarcely a cloud — amidst the ten- 
derness of the children he had reared, and the consolations 
of the Gospel he had preached. He left, indeed, no dying 
testimony, for his palsied lips were closed; but his life had 
spoken — and still speaks — in terms too eloquent to need 


On you, clear cMldren, to wliom I now, in a single word, 
address myself, yoiir revered parent's instructions and ex- 
ample have not been lost. Let me here be permitted to 
express my affectionate and earnest hope, that, in " the 
general assembly of the first-born," not one of his family 
may be wanting. 

Nor has he spoken in vain to you, my dear brethren, 
members of this church. His voice, although so long 
silenced, led many of you to Jesus, and as a pastor he fed 
you with knowledge and understanding. As yon loved him 
on earth, see that you meet him in heaven. 

But have all of you who heard him profited by his 
instructions 1 Are there none of you who heard in vain ? 
Alas ! when you meet again, as one day you will, will you 
constrain his words of love to testify against you 1 O do it 
not ! Receive into your hearts the Saviour he preached to 
you, that before God you may stand with him in peace. 


" Knowing this, tliat our old man is crucified with him." —Romans vi. 6. 

The apostle states tliis as a fact of Christian experience. 
If we are believers in Christ, " our old man is crucified." 

I. Let us see, in the first place, whether we can arrive at 
a clear understanding of this important and interesting fact, 

I. And, in order to this, let us examine the terms in 
which it is expressed : " our old man is crucified." 

The word to be first noticed is "man." This cannot mean 
the body, neither can it mean the entire man, consisting of 
the body and the soul; for in neither of these respects ai'e 
believers in Christ in any sense " crucified." It must mean 
the moral man, or the entire group of cherished afiections, 
impulses, and habits, of which a man, morally considered, 
consists. This " man " may, in a certain sense (of which we 
shall speak presently), be " crucified." 

Let us now examine the phrase, " our old man." The 
period to which the word " old " is to be referred is the 
period anterior to conversion; and by a believer's "old man" 
is to be Tinderstood the group of cherished afiections, im- 
pulses, and habits, which characterized him before his con- 
version — in a single phrase, his former self. 

What, then, in the last place, are we to understand by a 
believer's "old man," or his former self, being "crucified"? 
The language is, of course, metaphorical. It means, not 
that the " old man " is literally crucified, which, in fact, 
would be impossible, but that it is figui-atively crucified; or 
in some respects treated as a man is who is literally crucified. 
Now, in the case of a crucified man there are three appli- 
cable particulars. A person crucified is, first, under present 
restraint; he is, secondly, in a state of progressive exliaus- 
tion ; and he is, thirdly, approaching to certain death. So a 
believer's old man is crucified. His former self, including 


tlie entire group of unlioly affections, impulses, and liabits, 
which constituted his ante-cliristian character, is placed 
under present restraint; is suffering progressive exhaustion; 
and in the end is sure to die. 

2. Having thus examined the terms in which this fact of 
Christian experience is expressed, let us proceed to notice 
some connected facts by which further light may be thrown 
upon it. 

If a believer's " old man is ciiicified," this implies the 
existence of a new man, by whom this characteristic deed 
has been done. And, in truth, by faith in Christ, a new 
man, that is, a new character — an entii-ely new group of 
cherished affections, impulses, and habits — has been pro- 
duced in the believer. His prevailing desire, love, and pursuit, 
are now dii-ected to dissimilar, and even contrary, objects; 
"old things are passed away, and all things are become 

It is further implied in the statement before us, that these 
two men, the old and the new, exist and act in the believer 
at one and the same time. The old does not retire before 
the new, neither does the new expel the old. Still has the 
old man, or the group of unholy affections, impulses, and 
habits, life and vigour; and so likewise has the new man, or 
the group of holy affections, impulses, and habits, which 
faith in Ckrist has pi-oduced. 

It follows from the conti^adictory nature of these powers 
within a believer that they should be at deadly feud; in their 
operation iiTeconcilably contrary the one to the other, and 
aiming, so to speak, each at the other's extinction. Each 
asserting dominion for itself, thwai-ts, and frustrates, and 
would anniliilate, its opposite. 

In the statement before us is implied, finally, the practical 
super'iority of the new man over the old. He is no feeble 
opponent. He has carried on the strife so far successfully 
that he has bound his antagonist, and fastened him to the 
cross. No longer reigning, no longer, indeed, ranging at 
large in the enjoyment of his liberty, the old man is now 
cnxcified; the new-born group of holy affections, impulses, 
and habits, possessing a power and enei-gy altogether superior, 
and constituting a permanent supremacy. 

The fact of Chi-istian experience here stated by the apostle 
is thus brought fully before us, and is sufficiently intelKgible. 


II. But now, in the second place, let us inquire upon 
what grounds the statement rests. "Whence does it appear 
that, in a believer in Christ, the old man is crucified 1 

Pirst, from a believex-'s likeness to his Lord. " Our old 
man," says the apostle, "is crucified with Christ;" or, as 
from the context the meaniug seems to be, like Christ. 

If the former part of the chapter be attentively considered, 
there will be found runniiag through the whole of it the idea 
that a general resemblance prevails between Christ and 
believers in him, and the resemblance is brought out in 
several joarticulars. Thus, in the act of Christian profession, 
we are said to be "baptized into his death," or in resemblance 
of his death; and, by this baptism in resemblance of death, 
we are said to be "buried Avith him," or like him; while our 
rising to a new life is "like as Christ was raised from the 
dead " (ver. 3, 4). 

And, as this likeness to Chi'ist is indicated by the act of 
Christian profession, so it is characteristic of Christian ex- 
perience. Christ was crucified, and so are those who believe 
in him; he literally, they in a figure — exhibiting, not an 
identity, but a similarity. And since this similarity prevails 
and is to be maintained, as Christ was crucified so must 
believei'S be. " Our old man is crucified, like Christ." 

Secondly, from the natui'al tendency and inevitable influ- 
ence of faith. 

Faith in C^^st is pi-imarily the instrument of a sinner's 
justification, that by which he attains deliverance from con- 
demnation, and peace with God: b\it the operation of faith 
does not stop here; it has an enei-gy much beyond this. 
"Faith," says the apostle, "worketh," and it "worketh by 
love." It imjjlies love to God, which is the essential element 
of reconciliation to him. It immediately generates love to 
Christ, a love so deep, and tender, and strong, as to become, 
at once and for ever, the ruling passion of heart and life. 
And love to Christ is identical with hatred of sin; the latter 
is but another form of the same passion. Hence it is that a 
believer in Jesus, while enjoying the full gladness of a perfect 
peace with God through atoning blood, immediately enters 
into conflict with his former self, and, in the strength of 
divine grace, overcomes. His old man is crucified. Viewed 
in the light of the cross, every sin becomes intolerably hate- 
ful to him, and there is none which, animated by love to 


Christ, lie cannot resist and vanquish. Sweetly is this 
expressed by the chief of the sweet singers of Israel: — 

" ! how I hate those lusts of mine 
That crucified my God ; 
Tliose sins that pierced and nailed his flesh 
Fast to tlie fatal wood ! 

"Yes, my Redeemer, they shall die, 
My heart has so decreed ; 
Nor will I spare the guilty things 
That made my Savioiu" bleed. 

" Wliilst, with a melting, broken heart, 
My murdered Lord I view, 
I'll raise revenge against my sins, 
And slay the murderers too. " 

III. Such are the grounds on which the statement of the 
apostle rests. Let us now, in the third place, gather up the 
instruction to be derived from it. " Knowing this," that a 
believer's old man is crucified with Christ, we may learn 
several very important things. 

I. In the first place, here is supplied to us a critical test 
of our character. Here is something which will enable us 
to answer the question — Are we Christians indeed ? 

In name we are all Chi-istians; but, of course, we are all 
too well informed to attach any importance to this circum- 
stance. The essential matter, and it is a widely difterent 
matter, is to be a Christian indeed. Perhaps we think we 
believe in Jesus, and hope that we have peace with God 
through his blood; but even this is a matter which should 
be put to the test, inasmuch as faith is to be known by its 
fruits. And our subject supplies a test in all respects apt 
and conclusive. If you are a believer in Christ, dear reader, 
your old man, your foi-mer self, is, as lie was, crucified. Is 
this a fact? Have you any consciousness of a new life 
within you, of a set of cherished affections, impulses, and 
habits, widely diflerent from your old ones, and in practical 
antagonism to them? Have new-born holy affections and 
purposes entered into resolute conflict with your old man, 
and asserted a practical svipremacy? Is your old man, in a 
word, crucified; not only placed under immediate restraint, 
but in a course of gradual exhaustion, and in a way to 
die? Is it your aim, your purpose, your hope, that he shall 


There ought to be no difficulty in answering these ques- 
tions. They do not relate to anything recondite or obscure. 
Such matters as these must lie upon the surface of your 
consciousness, and be immediately open to a careful inquiry. 
Let me entreat you to make the inquiry both carefully and 
faitlifully, for it is of infinite importance to have a correct 
answer. If your old man is not crucified, you have no true 
faith in Jesus : you know nothing of the reality of i-eligion. 

In such circumstances, dear reader, it is plainly necessaiy 
that you should bestir yourself; for, if you live and die with- 
out religion, you are lost for ever. But what will you do? 
Will you set about the correction of your unholy passions 
and evil habits? Alas! to what end? and by what means? 
There being no new man within you, the crucifixion of the 
old man will be impossible, and all your j^resent purposes 
will speedily be frustrated. No. Rather come as a poor 
helpless sinner to Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost. 
Faith in his name will, in the first instance, give you peace 
with God; and then it will create in you that holy power 
of love to Christ, before which every sin shall droop and 
die. The new man brought into being, the old will soon be 

2. In the second place, the statement of the apostle sup- 
plies to us a satisfactory solution of some of the perplexities 
of Christian experience. 

Often is it the lamentation of the believer in Jesus, " The 
good that I would I do not, bvit the e^T.1 that I would not 
that I do." His desii'es and purposes of piety are but very 
imperfectly fulfilled; they seem to be strangely thwarted by 
some adverse power Avithin him. He could sometimes fancy 
that he is more like two persons than one, and these two at 
perpetual strife. And in some sense it is so. Morally he is 
not one, but two persons. The afiections, impulses, and 
habits of his unconverted state constitute one person, and 
those of his converted state constitute another; and these 
are contrary the one to the other, so that he cannot, without 
opposition, do the things that he would. The facts being 
thus understood, however, the whole case is explained, and 
there is no longer any mystery. The inward strife is no 
proof of the absence of religion, but rather of its presence, 
if to such efiect it is cariied on that the " old man is cruci- 
fied." It would be a much more fatal sign if all within 
were peace. 


3. In the thii-cl place, the statement of the apostle supplies 
us with an instructive practical view of the Christian's life. 
He is (if we may be allowed the expression) an executioner ; 
a person employed in conducting a process of ci-ucifixion, 
and this process is accomplished upon himself. He is habi- 
tually cmicifying his old man. 

What a life of sadness and of pain ! In pai-t this is true ; 
and it is not to be supposed that any process fau'ly, even by 
a figiu-e, to be called crucifixion, can be carried on without 
pain: but, as it is a pain which ls necessary and inevitable 
on the one hand, so, on the other, it is a pain not unasso- 
ciated with a Chiistian's highest pleasures. The process, 
indeed, whatever may be the sufleriug occasioned by it, is 
essential to his happiness. Love to Jesus cannot tolerate 
the presence of his mui'derers; and never is a Christian's 
communion with his Lord so sweet as when the crucifijxion 
of the old man goes on most vigorously. 

It is evident, however, that, if a Christian's life be such, 
it can by no means be one of indolence or inattention. If 
our former self is to be effectually crucified, it is plain that 
it must be in the perpetual exercise of watchfulness, self- 
control, and self-denial. Without these the old man may, 
every now and then, peradventure, come down from the 
cross, and "play strange antics before high heaven.'' Never, 
Christian, should your watchful eye be closed, nor the hand 
of restraint be relaxed. Your eye should not spare, nor 
your heart pity, although the crucified one be youi-self in its 
dearest form. Let the love of Christ constrain you. View 
your corruptions always in the light of his cross. Set your 
sins before your eyes as those which crucified your Lord, and 
take on them the grateful revenge for which love, ever newly 
kindled, cannot but neiwe you. 

4. In the last place, the statement of the apostle suggests 
to us a blessed and animating hope. 

For if, thi'ough grace, our old man is now crucified, he 
will some time expire. The pi'ocess of crucifixion, however 
slow it may be, is not one of suflieriug merely, but one of 
death, which comes at last no less surely than if it came 
suddenly. Such, thanks be to God! shall the end of the 
ci-ttcifixion of our old man be. Even while we tai'ry upon 
earth we trust to witness his declining strength, and his 
perceptible approaches to death; but with our dying breath 


his life finally, and for ever, expires. O blessed thought ! 
This forced companionship with the murderers of our be- 
loved Lord is not to last for ever. No more of it beyond 
the grave! None of it in glory! Jesus alone shall dwell 
in our hearts there, greeted evermore by hallowed and 
ardent afiections all his own ! let us not fail in carrying 
on a process, however laborious, or however painful, which 
is to have an issue so delightful! 


"Them that love God." — Romans viii. 28. 

This phrase is part of an interesting and familiar passage, 
in which the apostle employs love to God as a distinctive 
characteristic of true piety. " For we know," says he, " that 
all things work together for good to them that love God." 
Without adverting further to the context, we may not 
unpi'ofitably employ ourselves for a few moments in medi- 
tating on this important spiritual grace. 

Love to God— What is it I And what is its ^^lace in the 
Christian character? Answers to these two questions will 
bring out our present thoughts. 

First, Love to God — what is it 1 

More simply, what is love 1 It is an afiection so univer- 
sally felt that it ought to be easily understood. It is surely 
delight in a person; kindness towards a peison; and devoted- 
ness to a person : in other words, it is complacency, benevo- 
lence, and consecration. And such is love to God. 

I. Love to God is delight in his character. Not, however, 
in such a character as we may happen to ascribe to God ; 
since, either by ignoi-ance or perverseness, we may possibly 
form an idea of God which is very remote from the truth. 
Many people do form a God after their own hearts, and then, 
with this creature of their imagination before them, fancy 
tliat they love him. Ileal delight in the character of God, 
however, implies that he is truly known ; known as he is 
I'evealed, not in his works merely, but in his Word, and in 
his Son. To love God is to rejoice in the glorious attributes 
which compose his being, and more especially in his moral 
attributes, which may be summed uji in one word — his 
holiness. The reader will recollect with what solemn 
emphasis it is declared, " Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God 
Almighty." Now to love God is to find in this his character 


what gives ns pleasure, what inspires the highest thoughts of 
his excellency, and leads us to revere him, and adore. 

2. Love to God is acquiescence in his government. For 
God has established a government over us, by means of a 
holy, just, and righteous law, having issues of everlasting 
joy or sorrow. Even in his exercise of mercy he proceeds 
ujDon principles of eqiiity, and makes righteousness and peace 
embrace each other. To love him is cordially to acquiesce in 
this his method of action ; to sympathize with his claim of 
authority, to confess the righteousness of his law, and to 
rejoice in the honour which it receives in the cross of his 
Son. It is to be at one with him, without controversy or 
discontent, in all the aspects and bearings of his moral 
government; the principles on which it is founded, the rules 
by which it is administered, and the issues in which it will 
be consummated. 

3. Love to God is devotedness to his interest. For he has 
a cause in the world which he is carrying on by methods 
which admit of our co-operation, and in which he conde- 
scends to require our aid. Our example, our conversation, 
oiir influence, and our activity in a thousand ways, may help 
its advancement; and he permits it in a measure to lean 
upon us. To love him is cheerfully to accept this calling, to 
enter into the spirit of the position in which he has placed 
us, and, in a spirit of self-renunciation, to live for God. 

This is a brief, but, perhaps, a sufiicient answer to our first 
question : let us now proceed to the second. 

Secondly, Love to God — what is its place in the Christian 
char-acter ? 

In answering this question we shall find a few words to 
say — first, on its production ; secondly, on its manifestation ; 
thirdly, on its value ; and, finally, on its nurture. 

I, In speaking of the production of love to God in the 
heart of fallen man, it is obvious to obsei-ve that, antece- 
dently to conversion, he is a total stranger to it. The 
Scripture declares that men are, as unrenewed, " enemies in 
their mind" to God; a fact too plainly shown by their 
"wicked works." And this is manifest, indeed, by a com- 
parison of the actual feelings of men with all the aspects of 
God's being and ways which are fitted to engage love. They 
have no delight in his character; unless it be in the fictitious 
character which their own hearts have given him — that of 


an easy Deity, who takes little notice of tlieir conduct, and 
will indulge them with impunity in all manner of disorders. 
Such a being they could love ; but a God who " is of purer 
eyes than to behold iniquity," who " is angiy with the wicked 
eveiy day," and will ultimately " turn the wicked into hell," 
for such a one they feel rather aversion than complacency. 

And unrenewed men are not less displeased with the 
government of God than with his character. They think it 
hard that he should claim to govern, while, in theii' opinion, 
his law is a gi'eat deal too strict, and his punishments too 
severe. They are petulant at this crossing of theii* own will, 
and resent the interference of divine government as an 
unwarrantable and intolerable intrusion on their proper 
liberty. "Our tongues," and our hands, they say, "are our 
own ; who is lord over us 1 " 

Nor is the interest of God in this world at all attractive 
to xmrenewed men. To them it is much more agreeable to 
revel in sensual indulgences, to riot in scenes of pleasure, or 
to pursue a course of profit or ambition, than to lend them- 
selves in a spii'it of devotedness to the diffusion of the 
Gospel, and the renovation of the world. Whether they 
eat or drink, or whatsoever they do, it is for their own enjoy- 
ment, and not for " the glory of God." 

How, then, it is to be asked, is this state of things altered, 
and so great a change brought about as that the enemies of 
God should become his friends, and those who hated him 
learn to love 1 

The answer to this qiiestion is to be found in the words of 
the apostle, that God "hath appeared in Christ, reconciling 
the world unto himself" Sending his only -begotten and 
well-beloved Son into the world to make himself an ofiering 
and sacrifice of expiation for sin, " that whosoever believeth 
in him should not perish, but have everlasting life," God has 
assumed an attitude towards men appealing to them with 
unspeakable power, and well-fitted to transform enmity into 
fiiendship. If it be a truth of man's nature that love begets 
love, how should not love so unparalleled as this subdue his 
heart to God 1 It is true that man's stony heai-t is obdurate, 
but it is ti-ue also that this is God's chosen means for soften- 
ing it, and that the adaptation of it is perfect and complete. 
It is tiiie, likewise, that, under the influence of the Holy 
Spirit, this is the actual means by which a sinner's heai-t is 


reconciled to God, and the enemy converted into a friend. 
Submission to Christ as God's salvation may be regarded as 
the first expression of friendship towai'ds God himself; a 
proof and indication that enmity no longer prevails, but has 
given place to love. "We love him because he first loved 

2. Such is the process by which love to God is generated 
in man's heart ; let us now see in what modes it is manifested. 

These modes are many, and all of them are characteristic; 
but we may specify a few. 

Love to God manifests itself by a desire for his company. 
So, in earthly things, the loving one desires the company of 
the loved. He that loves God loves communion with him, 
whether by meditation merely, or, more formally, by prayer ; 
he loves the sacred retirement where God's presence may be 
most vividly realized, and the social exercises by which the 
devout affections may be most powerfully awakened. His 
saddest hours are those in which God is most absent from his 
thoughts, and his brightest those in which he walks with him 
in most intimate companionship. 

Love to God manifests itself by a desire after his love. So 
human love desires return, and love unrequited recoils on the 
heart that cherishes it with a death-like coldness. How 
unspeakably sad were the heart that loves God, if there 
might be no hope of responding love ! The breathing of its 
intense desire is, " My Father, love me ; and shed abroad 
thy love in my breast !" To be loved is not less a necessity 
of happiness than to love. 

Love to God manifests itself by a desire after his likeness. 
There is always an aptness to imitate the character we 
admire, and sometimes this transforming influence of love is 
very powerful. Love to God generates earnest longings 
after growing, and even complete, conformity to him. It is 
on an agreement of moral temperament that the very possi- 
bility of love rests, and the height to which it can be carried 
is proportioned to the degree of assimiliation. " If we walk 
in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with 
another." O ! to be more like him ! Then we can love him 
more, and shall be moi-e beloved. 

Love to God manifests itself by a desire to please him. 
To a loving heart "his commandments are not grievous." 
To have something to do for one whom we love supplies us 


with one of our greatest luxuries ; and he that loves God Ls 
*'he that hath his commandments and keepeth them." And 
the promptness and fidelity with which this is done are 
eqiially characteiistic. One who truly loves God will be able 
to say, " I made haste, and delayed not, to keep thy com- 

Dear reader, here are plain evidences. Will you now ask 
yourself whether you love God or not 1 

3. What, now, let us ask, in the thii'd place, is the value 
of this gi'ace 1 

And to this question we may answer, that love to God is 
a critical and decisive evidence of piety. It is an affection 
so totally opposite to the state of the carnal heart, that its 
existence cannot be accounted for but on the supposition of 
an entu-e change ; and the change implied is such as only 
a melting view of God in Christ could have produced. 
Assui-edly, "he that loveth God" has "passed from death 
unto life." 

Love to God is pre-eminent among the Christian graces. 
Of hope, joy, peace, and all the group, it may be said that 
love, like an elder sister, " strengthens all the rest ;" or 
rather, that love is the parent of them all. Indeed, there is 
a view in which it may be said that all the graces are essen- 
tially love. What is faith, but love bowing at the cross ? 
What is hope, but love winged with exj^ectation '? What is 
joy, but love in transport? or patience, but love under tiibu- 
lation? or tnist, but love in contemplation of the promise ? 
These are I'ather changes of cu*cumstanee and condition than 
changes in the afiection of the mind, which, through all, is 
one and the same. Thus religion may be said to be wholly 
love. How like to God himself! For "God is love;" and 
so are his children too. 

Love to God is the great source of pleasure in religion. 
The affection of love, more especially of requited love, is 
itself a gladness, and it infuses gladness into all which it 
inspires. Thus love to God is a perennial spring of joy in 
tlie Christian's heart, and it makes, if not aU his religion 
joyous, yet the principal joyousness of his religion. It makes 
glad the season of devout fellowship; it makes glad the 
duties of holy obedience ; it makes glad the activities of a 
consecrated life ; it makes glad the exercise of self-denial ; it 
makes glad the bearing of the cross. 


Love to God is the mainspring of Christian energy. I do 
not mean to i-epresent it as the only motive by which the 
Christian is actuated ; it is, however, the motive of most 
constant application, and of greatest power. Love is well 
known to be the commanding principle in human character, 
and among the multitude of human feelings the predominant 
and supreme. Such is love to God in the experience of the 
Christian. Where hope, or feai', or sense of duty, might 
fail, love will assuredly triumph. Attaching importance to 
every one of God's commandments, and in obedience at once 
prompt and faithful, it generates a perseverance unwearied, 
and laughs difficulties to scorn. Its life is to do, to suffer, 
and to endure, for God and his glory. 

Love to God is the restoration of man's primary virtue. 
Before man fell this was his attitude — he loved God ; and to 
the same attitude he is by grace restored. Man is thus 
recovered to himself, and to the lost image of his Maker. 
Not all the other graces of the Christian character, apart 
from love to God, would accomplish such a result ; but, 
loving God, man is again, in the noblest sense, himself — 
himself, as if he had never fallen. 

Love to God, although produced under the mediatorial 
system, is separable from it, and capable of an independent 
existence. We know that the mediatorial system, however 
glorious in itself, and now indispensable, is not to exist for 
ever. After the final judgment, and the glorification of the 
saints, the Lord Jesus Christ will give up the kingdom to the 
Father, " that God may be all in all." The work of redemp- 
tion completed, its machinery will no longer be perpetuated, 
and the redeemed will have immediate access to God. Under 
these circumstances how many graces will expire ! Faith, in 
direct acceptance, and hope, in full fruition ; while love to 
God, emancipated trom all shackles, and transported into a 
new region, survives for immortality. " Now abide faith, 
hope, love, these three ; but the greatest of these is love." 

4. Such being the value of love to God, let us ask, finally, 
What are the means of its nurture? 

If, indeed, we love God, we are deeply conscious that Ave 
love him too little ; and it ought to be our desire and endea- 
vour to love him. more. It is yours. Christian reader, is it 
not 1 And you would like to be informed how so important 
an object can be attained. Remember, then, these things. 


Love grows with knowledge — with knowledge, that is to 
say, of the object beloved. What infinite stores of loveli- 
ness are there in God still unappreciated by you ! God in 
Christ ! "What an object for your habitual contemplation ! 
And every beauty of his character wliich you newly discern, 
or more largely realize, will inflame your love to a higher 

Love grows with intercourse. If you would love God 
much, have much communion with him. Be often in the 
secret place of piety, and give time — sufficient time — to the 
cultivation of this kindling fellowship. You would not love 
an earthly friend very ardently, if you had only occasional 
and momentary converse Avith him; nor, with unfrequent 
and perfunctory converse with God, can your love to him be 

Love grows with likeness. As it is in the first instance 
love to God which transforms us into his likeness, so every 
measure in which we become like him increases our aptitude 
to love him more. " If we walk in the light, as he is in the 
light," we shall not only "have fellowship" with him, but a 
fellowship of ever-advancing intimacy and sweetness. 

Love grows with service. We love those most for whom 
we do most. Ask the devoted mother which of her children 
she loves best. It is assuredly the pining and sickly one, 
who has occupied both her days and her nights with wakeful 
and laborious attentions. In like manner, if you do much 
for God you will be sure to love him much. Your labour 
will bring your love, otherwise slumbering, into conscious 
action; while your presentation of it as a token of gratitude 
before his feet, will bring a response of love from him by 
which your love will be still further inflamed. 

May God grant you, dear reader, to abound in this grace ! 
How fitted it is for earth, where toils require all its energy, 
and grief all its gladness ! How fitted it is for heaven, where 
the object of your love shall appear in all his glory, and his 
response of love kindle your glowing breast to a seraphic 
ardour ! 


"Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us . . . righteousness." 
—1 Coi'. i. 30. 

Without troubling tlie reader witli tlie connexion of this 
passage, important and interesting as it is, we will beg him 
to dii'ect his undiverted thoughts to the great subject which 
the text presents to him. Here is one grand aspect of God's 
interposition of mercy for a ruined woi'ld. In his infinite 
gi-ace and wisdom, " Christ Jesus is made unto us righteous- 

With this passage before us, our fii'st business will be to 
ascertain the meaning of it. In what sense is Christ made 
to us righteousness? He is a teacher of righteousness, say- 
some, and this is true; he was an example of righteous- 
ness, say others, and this also is true; but neither of these 
apart, nor both of them together, will satisfy the language 
employed. For Christ to be made righteousness to us, is 
surely more than his being oiu* teacher and example. 

In order to see our way a little further into this subject, 
it should be observed that the word righteousness is used in 
two senses; sometimes to denote a moral righteousness, and 
sometimes a legal righteousness. These two phrases relate 
respectively to two systems of things from which they ema- 
nate. There is a system of essential right, of right deter- 
mined by an absolute and unchangeable rule which is to be 
found in the natui-e of God, and conformity to this rule is 
moral righteousness; thei*e is also a system of prescribed 
right, of right expressed in commandments, embodied in 
law, and enforced by retributive sanctions, and obedience to 
this law is legal righteousness. It is for us, then, to ascertain 
in which of these senses the word righteousness is used in 
the passage before us. 

It is held by some that the apostle here refers to moral 
righteousness; so that, when Christ is said to be our right- 


eousness, the meaning is that he is to us, in some way, the 
source of holiness. There is, howevei', an argument close at 
hand to show that this cannot be so. The whole verse reads 
thus — " Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, 
and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." Now 
the word " sanctification " must of necessity be understood 
of moral righteousness; and, as one cannot impute a mere 
tautology to the apostle, no meaning remains for the word 
" righteousness " but that of legal righteousness. 

Now, since Christ is made to lis legal righteousness, it 
evidently follows that we are placed under a system of 
administration to which legal righteousness belongs; and, in 
order to appreciate, or even to understand, the privilege thus 
expressed, it will be necessaiy to pay some attention to the 
chai'acter and bearing of that system itself. 

1. We are, then, placed by the sovereign will of our 
Maker under a system of law. A law is expressly given by 
him to us, in the words — "Thou shalt love the Lord thy 
God with all thy heart . . . and thy neighbou^r as 
thyself" (Matt. xxii. 37-39); and in the epistle to the 
Romans (ii. 6-16), the apostle Paul telLs us that God "will 
render to every man according to his deeds," "in the day 
when he shall judge the secrets of men." 

2. Now, under a system of law, the necessary and only 
condition of well-being is obedience, or righteoiisness. This 
follows inevitably from the principle laid down, that God 
"will render to every man according to his deeds." Accord- 
ing to the apostle in another place (Rom. vi. 23), " The 
wages of sin is death." Regularly administer-ed, a law 
knows nothing of overlooking offences, or of forgiving them. 
It maintains and protects the social position of those who 
obey it, and of none besides. Under a system of law, there- 
fore, righteousness is, as I have said, the necessary and only 
condition of well-being. 

3. In point of fact, however, our well-being under the 
law of God is already forfeited by our manifold transgres- 
sions. We have in a thousand instances broken it, and as 
violators of it we are under its curse ; a curse which consti- 
tutes the most awfid element of oiu" miseiy, and from which 
it is our most xirgent interest to escape. But can we escape? 
As we have just seen, the only possible condition of our 
well-being is our righteoicsness ; yes, let us repeat it, in some 
way or other we must possess righteousness, or we are lost ! 


4. Is this possible, however? And, if it be possible, in 
what method can it be effected? 

To these questions we must, in the first instance, answer 
frankly, that in oui- oivn persons it is absolutely impossible. 
We are sinners, and we never can undo our many deeds of 
transgression, or any one of them. If our being righteous 
is possible at all, it must be in the person of another. 

"The person of another!" my reader, perhaps, exclaims; 
and adds, " Surely that can never be." So by many it has 
been thought, and two apparently forcible objections to the 
idea have beeia adduced, at both of which we must briefly 

On the one hand, we are told that it is impossible we 
should be righteous in the person of another, because actions 
cannot be transferred. In the nature of things, it is said, 
our sins always must be our own, and the righteousness of 
another must always be his. Now we admit this to be per- 
fectly true, and we should feel the bearing of it against us 
if we held that actions, whether evil or good, were trans- 
ferred. We have nothing to do, however, with any such 
notion. What we are dealing with is not actions, but the 
consequences of actions — the punishment of sin, and the 
rewai'd of obedience. Now, although actions cannot be 
transfeiTed, it is quite manifest that the consequences of 
actions may. If one commits a robbery, and is sentenced to 
transi^ortation for it, althougli another cannot commit the 
robbery, he may undergo the transportation. In like man- 
ner, although our sins never can become actually Christ's, 
nor his obedience ours, he may bear the desert of our 
iniquities, and we may enjoy the reward of his obedience. 
This objection, therefore, that actions cannot be transferred, 
does not apply. 

Then, on the other hand, we are told that God, as a right- 
eous governor, is required to deal with every man for his 
own transgressions, and cannot, by the essential piinciples 
of his government, be allowed to put another in the trans- 
gressor's stead. But we are not sure that this, however 
plausible, is true; and, at any rate, we cannot admit it 
without examination. We are liable to get contracted 
notions on this pomt, perhaps from our habit of contem- 
plating the position of an earthly judge, who certainly has 
necessaxily to deal with the actual law-breaker, and with no 


one besides; but it should be recollected that an earthly 
judge possesses only a delegated authority, and is by it 
strictly bound to administer the law as it is put into his 
hands, while the sovereign in whose name he acts possesses 
a certain discretionary power, and is able to some extent to 
overiide the ])roceedings of the judge, as in the familiar 
case of a royal pardon. Now, in oiir case Clod is at the 
same time judge and sovereign; and, within certain limits, 
he can modify the administration of his own law. 

That which it is necessary for him to maintain is not the 
strict bearing of his law on the actual transgressoi-s of it, 
but the honour of the law itself, and the unblemished cha- 
racter of his government. If, consistently with these, any 
merciful modification of legal process should be found pos- 
sible, it is quite competent to him to permit it. 

5. The question is thus reduced fi'om one of possibility to 
one of wisdom. The introduction of another person into 
the judicial proceedings, one to be dealt with in the place of, 
and as a substitute for, the actual transgressor, need not be 
refused if suitable conditions can be arranged; that is to 
say, if, on the one hand, an apt and adequate substitute can 
be found, and if, on the other, a mode of rendering his surety- 
ship available can be hit upon which shall include the germ 
of a renovated chai'acter. 

The question is, no doubt, a difficult and profound one; 
but, treating it hypothetically, it is not absolutely imprac- 

One can see, for example, some of the principal qualifica- 
tions which a substitute in this case must possess. In the 
first place, he must be a man; a being of the same nature as 
the transgressor, a member of the race which has sinned — 
only so can he be a fitting representative of them. In the 
next place, he must be a man free from the moral taint 
which attaches to the I'ace; one of human kind, yet not a 
descendant of Adam ; a member of the race thrown into it 
from some external source. In the third place, he must be 
a man, as of innocent nature, so of holy life, and in all 
pi-actical obedience unblamable — not himself a sinu^i*. 
And, in the fourth place, he must be more than man; ha\aug 
some superhuman dignity attached to his nature, which shall 
give to liis obedience unto death a meiitorious and expiatory 
character, far higher than could belong to that of a mere 


man J inasmuch as he will stand in the stead, not only of 
many men, but of many millions of men, and must in him- 
self be an eqxaivalent for the whole world. 

And, with respect to the second point, the discovery of a 
condition which should provide for the renovation of the 
sinner's character, one can see that the actual efficacy of this 
merciful arrangement might be made dependent on the cul- 
tivation of a state of mind out of which a new life would 
certainly grow. 

6. Thus looked at hypothetieally, it is perceptible that 
the case is not absolutely intractable; what is wanted being 
some one of wisdom and power enough to devise and execute 
the requisite means. How far this work transcends human 
wisdom and power we need not say; but, happily, we know 
how all these difficulties have been met and overcome in the 
person and work of oiir Lord Jesus Christ, and by the 
docti'ine of salvation through faith in his name. 

See what he is as a substitute for our guilty i-ace. First, 
he is " one chosen out of the people," " bone of our bone, 
and flesh of our flesh." JSText, he is without spot; the " seed 
of the woman," indeed, but, even as to his human nature, 
"the Son of God." Then, his life was as perfect as his 
nature was pure, and his entu-e obedience without a flaw. 
While, in the last place, his true divinity gives to his person 
a glory, and to all his doings and sufierings a value, which 
surpasses the salvation of a thousand worlds. The substi- 
tute, therefore, is found. 

And now for the condition on which his substitution shall 
be made available, a condition to unite the claims of grace 
and holiness; to make salvation as free as our lost estate 
requires, and as purifying as the government of God de- 
mands. Behold it in the proclamation of salvation by faith ! 
Now faith in this connexion may be explained as an act of 
acquiescence in, or of submission to, God's method of mercy. 
It is the simple acceptance of that which is simply given. 
Salvation cannot be more free. " Believe in the Loi-d Jesus 
Christ, and thou shalt be saved." And the acceptance of 
God's mercy thus exercised is the first fruit of a state of mind 
entirely new, and certainly productive of a holy life. If the 
enemy were not changed to a friend, God's method of mercy 
never would have been submitted to ; and, if the enemy is 
turned to a friend, the fniits of friendship will assuredly 
follow in their season. 


It is in this manner, then, that " Christ is of God made 
unto ns righteousness." Under a system of government by- 
law, we as transgressors are liable to condemnation ; and our 
happiness cannot be secured but by our becoming legally 
righteous, which in our own peraons is impossible. God, 
then, in his infinite mercy, places his own Son in our room, 
to be dealt with as though he had committed our sins, while 
we shall be dealt with as though we had wrought his 
righteousness. This arrangement being made, Christ is sent 
forth into the world ; by his obedience unto death he magni- 
fies the law, and makes it honourable j he bears our sins in 
liis own body on the tree, and redeems us from the curse of 
the law, being made a curse for us. Thus God makes him 
to be sin [treats him as a sinner] for us, that we might be 
made the righteousness of God [treated as righteous by God] 
in him. This righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ, 
is unto all, and upon all, them that believe. (Isaiah xlii. 2 1 ; 
I Peter ii. 24; Gal. iii. 13; 2 Cor. v. 21; Rom. iii. 22.) 

Let us now endeavour to make some practical improve- 
ment of the subject. 

1. How necessary it is to the appreciation, and even to 
the understanding, of Gospel privileges, that we should dis- 
tinctly feel, and deeply realize, the antecedent misery to 
which they correspond ! What can we know about Christ 
as our righteousness, unless we know also, and feel, too, our 
condition under the obligation and the cui'se of the law? 
Yague and obscure views . on this point have a tendency to 
vitiate, or enfeeble, the whole of experimental religion, and, 
in all probability, they lie at the root of miich of its practical 
instability. Let the reader ask himself — Do I know and 
feel my condition as a creature, under government by law? 
Do I know and feel my condition as a sinner, under the 
curse of law? Do I know and feel my need as a breaker of 
law, not of pardon merely, but of righteousness ? 

2. After the view we have taken, how clearly and simply 
the way of salvation shows itself! If with any fitting 
anxiety we ask the question, "What must I do to be saved?" 
we see at once what the reply cannot be. It will not answer 
our need to say, Pray to God, for he is merciful; for what 
we want is righteousness. It will not answer our need to 
say. Improve your morals, and attend to your religious 
duties ; for what we want is righteousness. Nothing can 


answer our need till we see "the righteousness of God," or 
God's way of making us rigliteous; and then there is nothing 
to be done but to bow to it, and accept it. sinner, lost 
and helpless! behold "the righteousness of God"! In what 
manner does your heart respond to it 1 Do joii shrink from 
it in pride, or turn aside in self-righteous confidence ] Will 
you prefer to trust in prayers, in tears, in names, in cere- 
monies, in deeds of virtue or of charity? Or, with yielding 
heai-t, do you rather say with an apostle, " What things wei-e 
gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, 
and I count all things but loss that I may win Christ, and 
be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which 
is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by 
faith"? (Phil. iii. 7-9.) 

3. How complete and blessed is the provision which divine 
mercy has made for our need ! As breakers of law we want 
a righteousness ; and, behold, God in adequate compassion 
has provided one — a righteousness which he himself has 
devised, which his well-beloved Son has wrought, and which 
his government in its most solemn transactions will own. 
How completely, whatever may have been our guilt, are our 
relations with the divine government reduced to order and 
peace ! The law, once so angry, demands no more. No 
longer do we hear thunders of wrath, or charges of trans- 
gression. " Who is he that condemneth ? It is God that 
justifieth" (Rora. "\Tii. 32). In the midst of God's holy uni- 
verse we stand not charged with sin, for "Christ is of God 
made unto us righteousness." 

4. How distinguished is our privilege as believers in Jesus ! 
O ! it had been much, if, like holy angels, we could have 
walked in clean garments, in garments which had never 
received a stain ; but it is more — infinitely more — to be 
arrayed in the robe of Jesus' righteousness. So bright a 
garment angels never wore ; and with adoring love should 
rebellious mortals wear the righteousness of an incarnate 

5. How lively should be our gratitude ! When we look 
at the love thus shown to us, and try with our poor thoughts 
to measure it, we soon find that it passeth knowledge; but, 
at least, in the little measure in which it can be known, it 
should be influential. Does not the consideration of it waken 
our hearts to thankfulness? What are we going to be, to 


do, for him who hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, 
having been made a curse for us 1 Akis ! our indolence and 
apathy! shall they not be crucified at his cross"? Shall we 
accept so vast a gift, and make no retui'n 1 

' ' In vain our mortal voices strive 
To speak compassion so divine ; 
Had we a thousand lives to give, 
A thousand lives shoidd all be thine." 

Consider, too, dear reader, that out of your veiy possession 
of righteousness by Christ springs an obligation of great 
weight to holiness of life. Your submission to God's method 
of mercy implies that your heart is uo longer at enmity with 
him, but is reconciled at once to him and to his government. 
Your faith in Christ is the first expression of your reconciled 
spirit; but, assuredly, it ought not to be, and it cannot be, 
the last. It cannftt stand by itself, but must be the stai-ting 
point of a new course of holy living. You must not, cannot, 
resume your former course of rebellion ; you will rather 
endeavour to be holy, as God is holy. Herein, indeed, will 
be the critical test of your faith, which is no faith, but a 
name only, if it do not purify your heart, and regulate 
your life. O happy one to whom " Christ is of God made 
righteousness" ! see to it that you have no fellowship with 
the unfruitful works of darkness, but that you perfect holi- 
ness in the fear of God ! 


"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself."— 
1 John V. 10. 

In dealing with, this very interesting and important pas- 
sage of Scripture, it will be necessary for us in the outset to 
arrive at a coiTect conception of its meaning. 

No difficulty attaches to it except in connexion with one 
word, "the witness;" and, in order to find the meaning of 
this word, we must trace it in the context. The passage 
begins at verse 7' and reads as follows : — 

"7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the 
Word, and the Holy Ghost ; and these three are one. 8. And there 
are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the 
blood ; and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of 
men, the witness of God is greater ; for this is the witness which he 
hath testified of his Son. 10. He that believeth on the Son of God 
hath the witness in himself : he that believeth not God hath made 
him a liar, because he believeth not the record which God gave of his 
Son. 11. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal 
life, and this life is in his Son. " 

We observe, on reading these verses, that two words — 
" record," and " witness," — are employed. Only one word 
is here used in the original, and it would have been better if 
our translators had used but one word, as the thing intended 
is one and the same. The word testimony, indeed, suits the 
connexion better than either witness, or record, and I shall 
hereafter employ it. 

The apostle, then, writes thus : — There are in heaven thi-ee 
that bear testimony to Christ, the Father, the Word, and 
the Holy Ghost; there are also on earth three that bear 
testimony to Christ, the spirit, the water, and the blood: and 
this testimony is, that God hath given to us etei-nal life, and 
that this life is given through his Son. Now, this testimony 
ought to be received, because it appeals to us on the same 
ground as human testimony, which we habitually receive, even 


•wlien far less ami"»le and decisive : but, apart from this, lie tliat 
believeth on the Sou of God hath the testimony in himself. 

What, now, can be the meaning of the word "testimony" 
in this last pkrase? It cannot be God's testimony itself 
which a believer on the Son of God has wathin him, for that 
is a thing ob\T.ously and necessarily without him. The word 
testimony seems to be here used in the sense of e'sddence ; so 
that the meaning will be. He that believeth on the Son of 
God hath in himself evidence that what he accepts as the 
testimony of God concerning his Son is truly so. 

The question thus raised is a very momentous one: it is 
that of the truth and divine origin of Christianity; it is 
whether what we hold as such is really the testimony of God 
concerning his Son. For us it is of infinite importance that 
it shou.ld be so, for this fact lies at the fovmdation of all our 
peace. If this testimony should, unhappily, prove to be 
either false or fictitious, the whole fabric of our hope falls 
into ruin. 

Now, the question respecting the truth and di^^Ile origin 
of Christianity is, of course, to be decided by evidence; and 
the evidence applicable to it is of varioiis kinds. Concerning 
the testimony which we are told God has given of his Son, 
it may be inquired in what manner God has given it; by 
what j)ersons it has been communicated; by what deeds their 
mission was authenticated; in what records it has been trans- 
mitted to us; what is its moral tone, and what have been its 
practical effects. 

Concerning the evidence thus briefly sketched there may 
be made some important general obsei-vations. The field of 
inquiry is ob%T.ously, as a whole, very large; nor can any of 
its separate divisions be said to be even of moderate dimen- 
sions. Each, indeed, may well be regarded as requii'ing 
sevei'al volumes, and the whole a library. "We have to begin 
with the gi'eat subjects of revelation and inspiration; then to 
weigh the character and ci'edibility of the sacred wiiters; 
after that to discuss the nature and credibility of prophecy 
and miracles; then to range over the vast field of biblical 
ci'iticism ; then to test, in multiplied instances, the morality of 
the Bible ; and, last of all, to trace its footsteps in the history 
of mankind. 

Besides being a very large, the Christian evidences are 
also a very diflScult, subject of study. The mastery of it 


demands a vast ainouut of information, such as can be ac- 
quired only by long and extensive reading; it demands also 
great attainments in learning, meaning hereby chiefly a 
critical knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew lan£:uae:es, but 
including also a knowledge of what commentators in many 
languages, and in many ages, have written; and it demands, 
Anally, a well-balanced and highly-cultivated mind, qiialified, 
both by education and by practice, to do justice to minute 
questions of criticism, and to weigh with candour moral 
arguments. The study of the Christian evidences becomes the 
more difficult now, because of the great distance of time at 
which we are from the occurrence of the chief facts involved, 
of the wide diversity between ancient and modern modes of 
life, and of the critical embarrassments resulting from the 
transmission throiigh so many hands, and so many ages, of 
ancient manuscripts. And the difficulty is further aggra- 
vated by the fact that a host of unbelievers have travei'sed 
the field before us, raising up innumerable objections, more 
or less weighty, and often presenting them with ingenious 
plausibility, though with a culpable perverseness. 

To these considerations it may be added, that the mastery 
of the Christian evidences mu^st clearly be a work of time. 
Several years of continuous study is the shortest time that 
could possibly be allotted to it ; and the whole of a long life 
would not be too much to be devoted to it. 

From these observations it inevitably results that, in rela- 
tion to the bulk of mankind, these evidences are almost, if 
not altogether, useless. It is little to say that not one in 
a thousand — it should rather be said not one in a million 
— of the hearers of the Gospel possesses, either the learning, 
or the general knowledge, or the mental cultui-e, or the 
leisure time, required for the study of them. 

And we may now be struck, perhaps, by a corresponding 
fact; namely, that the mastery of the Christian evidences is 
not in any instance made the basis of God's appeal to man- 
kind. The commission of our Lord to his discii^les was not, 
Go and explain to the people the evidences that you bring 
a divine message; but, Go and proclaim the message itself: 
" Go ye, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that 
believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth 
not shall be condemned." How absurd it would have been 
to find the apostles saying to their auditors, "Come, and let 


US sit down to the stiidy of tlie Pentateuch, that we may 
settle its historical chai-acter, and ascei-taLn whether it was 
written by Moses." A long while indeed it would have Leen, 
on such a plan, before the Gospel would have been preached 
to the nations, and a still longer time before any had believed 
in Jesus. 

The question of time, indeed, involves the settlement of 
the whole matter. God, in the Gospel, announces an imme- 
diately impending ruin, and requires an immediate act of 
reconciliation to himself When he says to a sinner, " Ke- 
pent, and be converted," it is no admissible answer to him to 
say, " Lord, allow me time to examine the evidences of 
Christianity ; and then, if I am convinced, I will answer thy 
appeal." The stern reply even of divine mercy is, " Lose 
not a moment. 'Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, 
now is the day of salvation!' Long before so much time is 
past, even to-morrow, you may be in perdition." 

God's appeal to men, then, is not, in point of fact, based 
on the Christian evidences: it may now be added, that it 
would be of no use if it were so. Not that the Christian 
evidences are incomplete, or unsatisfactory; on the conti'ary, 
to a candid mind, they are the most convincing and conclu- 
sive evidences the world ever saw; but they require a candid 
mind, and this no unconvei'ted man will ever bring to them 
— which is the same thing as to say, no unconverted man 
will ever be convinced by them. I have said that the Chris- 
tian e\T.dences require a candid mind. What case of moral 
evidence does not? Undoubtedly, there are difficulties; and 
in the estimate of these all the diflerence in the world is 
made by the temper of the judge. The real question is 
whether they are looked upon with the eye of an enemy ov 
that of a friend. Now, ungodly men are, without exception, 
enemies to God, and in the spirit of an enemy they will look 
on the evidences of Christianity. "Were they mvich more 
clear than they are, they would still find objections to them; 
nor would it be possible, by any amount of evidence, to 
silence their ca\'ils. Why, therefore, should the evidences 
be made clearer for them, or why should any appeal be made 
to them on the ground of evidence at all? Such an appeal 
is inevitably futile. If ever an enemy to God is reconciled 
to him, it will be because the love of God in Christ Jesus 
shines into his heart. 


It is thus that the Bible is adapted to become a test-book 
for the world into Avhich it is tlu-own, and for every man 
into whose hands it comes. To the understanding it presents 
abundant materials for objection, and he that is willing to 
occupy himself with them shall find no want of employment : 
but all these difficulties are nothing where the heai-t is right; 
and it is doubtless to show whether the heart is right or not, 
that God has seen fit to leave so many difficulties in the 
Bible. It is still as when oiu' Lord said to the cavilling 
Jews, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the 
doctrine whether it be of God" (John AT.i. 17). 

But now, after this view of one class of the Christian 
evidences — for it is but one class of them which have been 
under observation — let us look at another, as presented to us 
in the text. " He that believeth on the Son of God," says 
the apostle, "hath the evidence in himself" The former 
were outward evidences; this evidence is within. 

Let us take care here that we rightly understand the 
phraseology which the apostle employs. He does not say, 
He that believes the testimony of God to be true afterwards 
finds the evidence of its truth within himself: this would be 
absurd. But he says, " He that believeth on the Son of God 
hath the evidence in himself" Now, to " believe on the Son 
of God" is a very differei^t thing from believing God's testi- 
mony concerning his Son to be true. It is to trust in the 
Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, to submit to God's method 
of dealing with us through him. It is thus an exercise of 
the heart, and not of the understanding merely; and its 
direct object is, not the truth of the testimony which God 
has boi'ne, but the substance of that testimony itself 

Now, " he that believeth on the Son of God," the apostle 
tells us, "hath evidence in himself" of the truth of God's 
testimony concerning his Son. In what manner 1 Undoubt- 
edly, by the efiects which that testimony has produced on 
him. Let us look for a moment at these. 

In the first place, the Gospel has given peace to the 
believer's conscience. Once laden with guilt as a burden too 
heavy for him to beai', and agonized by a sense of deserved 
condemnation, he now enjoys tranquillity in the hope of 
pardoning mercy. "Being justified by faith," he has "peace 
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;" and is privileged 
to see all his iniquities put away from him, "as far as the 
east is from the west." 


In the second place, the Gospel has given purity to the 
believer's heart. Ah! how vile it was once; the dwelling- 
place of every sin, where creature -idolatry displaced the 
Creator, and rendered the whole heart unclean. But, 
through grace, it is not so now. Reconciled to God through 
Christ, he has been made to hate, and enabled to crucify, the 
iniquities which once ruled over him. His best aftections 
are now given to God, his Father, and all that is holy and 
godlike he loves for his sake. Although far from perfect, he 
yet bears substantially the image of Jesus, his Redeemer. 

Thirdly, the Gospel has given a worthy object to the 
believer's life. Formerly he lived to himself, and to the 
world. He had no higher object than to attain worldly good, 
or to revel in sensual enjoyment. But he lives now for a 
different and a nobler end. Bought with the precious blood 
of Christ, he holds himself no more his own, but another's; 
and he at once owns himself bound, and feels himself con- 
strained, to glorify God in his body and his spirit, which are 
God's. This new aim makes him a new man. Whether he 
eats or drinks, or whatsoever he does, he strives to do all to 
the glory of God; and he is thus led to cultivate whatsoever 
things are true and kind, lovely and of good report. 

Fourthly, the Gospel has provided the believer with a 
refuge in trouble. Before, as now, he was liable to affliction, 
and perhaps often in .sorrow; but then he was fretful and 
impatient, petulantly challenging the dispensations of God, 
and repining at the disappointment of his earthly hopes. 
Now he has found a refuge, where he dwells in comparative 
tranquillity under the shadow of the Almighty. All his 
burdens he has learned to carry to the throne of grace, and 
to deposit there. In all things, by prayer and supplication 
with thanksgiving, making known his requests unto God, 
the peace of God which passeth all understanding keeps his 
heart and mind through Christ Jesus. He is now " patient 
in tribulation," and often rejoicing in sorrow. 

Fifthly, the Gospel has given to the believer a hope of 
heaven; not like the vague and baseless hope which he once 
cherished, as thousands do still, but a "good hope through 
gi-ace;" a hope founded on the rock Jesus, and rising to the 
highest heaven. Already it lifts his affections thitherward. 
It does not wither in the presence of death, or give place to 
dread on the verge of the grave. Sometimes he rises ou 


wings of strong desire, even a desire to depart and be with 
Jesus, which is far better; and he habitually looks forward 
to the inheritance laid up for him in heaven, which is incor- 
ruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. 

We can easily undei'stand now how he that believeth on 
the Son of God hath evidence in himself of the tnuth of 
God's testimony. In the presence of such experience, how 
can he possibly doubt it 1 Is it of the nature of fallacies or 
fancies to produce such effects as these"? Could either a 
human invention, or a Satanic lie, pacify the conscience, 
purify the heart, renovate the life, coinfort the mourner, and 
give hope of heaven 1 

Such is the nature of that inward evidence of the truth 
and divine origin of Christianity to which the language of 
the apostle directs us. Let us now look for a moment at its 
properties and value. 

Mark its universality. Belonging to a believer on the Son 
of God as such, it belongs of necessity to every believer; and, 
whatever differences may prevail among them, it covers all 
these, and admits of no excejition. If the learned possess it, 
so also the unlearned; if the civilized, so also the savage. 
Not the meanest, poorest, or least instructed believer, is left 
to doubt or darkness on this important matter. 

Mark its simplicity. It is not a case in which proof 
results from elaborate argument, or is to be arrived at by 
long or learned research. It lies in the briefest possible 
sjjace, and is an inference of the most direct and inevitable 
kind. You infer that the Gospel comes from God from the 
fact that it has led you to God. The premiss in the argu- 
ment is a fact in your o^vn expei'ience, a fact of which you 
have no doubt; and the conclusion is reached by a single 
step, equally indubitable. The Gospel has been to you " the 
power of God unto salvation;" and, if you were a child or a 
fool, you could not fail to infer that it "is in truth the word 
of God, which effecti^ally worketh in them that believe." 

Mark its conclusiveness. The inward evidence affords the 
basis of a conclusion, not probable only, but certain. In 
many arguments one feels that there may be a flaw, or that 
they conti'ibute to the conclusion only a partial and imjier- 
fect support; but the inward evidence to Christianity is 
absolutely conclusive. Your question is, From whence is 
the Gospel ] And the fact from wliich you reason is, that 


the Gospel has wrought a most marvellous and blessed 
change in you. Now, the origin of the Gospel must be one 
of these three : it is either of man, of Satan, or of God. Is 
it doubtful which '? May you not say with confidence, 
"Man could not have invented it; Satan would not; and 
none but God can have been its author"? 

Mark its sufficiency — I may say, its all-sufficiency. For 
this evidence is sufficient in the absence of all other. Let it 
be supposed that you are in utter ignorance of biblical 
learning, and wholly destitute of critical skill ; that you 
know — as multitudes have known, and do know — nothing 
but the story of the cross, and that Jesus died upon it to 
save sinners; and that you liave been enabled to trust him, 
and taiight to love him. This change in you is not only an 
evidence that the Gospel is divinely true, but it is a sufficient 
evidence in the absence of all besides. Though a hvmdred or 
a thousand other arguments might be adduced in confirma- 
tion, what are they to you ? They can add nothing to the 
strength of yoiu' conviction. 

And, as the inward evidence is sufficient in the absence of 
all other evidence, it is sufficient, also, in the face of all pos- 
sible objections. If any one affirm to you that miracles are 
not possible, you may reply, " I know that one mii-acle is 
possible, the change of my wicked heart ; and after that I 
can believe any other." If any one tells you that a bleeding 
sacrifice for sin is incredible, you may answer, "The precious 
blood of Clirist cleanseth me from all sin." If any one 
suggest to you that the Bible is a fraud, you may rejoin, "It 
hath given light to my eyes, and gladness to my heart." 
"What can ten thousand cavils do to put this witness out of 
court, or to diminish the force and conclusiveness of this 
evidence 1 

Mark its convenience. Here is an argument always at 
hand. It is not in the library, but in the heart. It requires 
not the opening of a book, but merely a glance within the 
breast. It is always carried about by its possessor, who 
cannot be found at any moment without it, or unprepared, 
therefore, for either the satisfaction of his own mind, or the 
assaults of infidelity. 

From this view of the nature and value of the inward 
evidence of the tiiith and divinity of the Gospel, we may 
learn in how satisfactory a position God has left this great 


and all-impoi'tant question. The entii-e mass of outward 
evidence he has been content to leave either inaccessible to, 
or unmanageable by, the great bulk of mankind; indeed, in 
presenting his appeal to them, he passes the question itself 
entirely by, and addresses himself exclusively to the sense of 
moral necessity and adaptation. "You are a rebel, be recon- 
ciled to me; here is my chosen Mediator, trust him." Who- 
ever will not do this, God cares not to wrangle w^ith him 
about the evidences, but he places such a rebel under con- 
demnation. Whoever will do this, however, God presents 
to him at once a conclusive proof. If a believing sinner say 
to him, "Lord, I have trusted in Jesus: is thy testimony 
concerning him true"?" God's answer is, "Thou hast the 
evidence in thyself. Hath it not saved thee 1 " 

We may learn, also, what is the attitude of Christian 
wisdom. It is not by any means that a believer in Christ 
should be indiflerent to the question. Is the Gospel true? 
but that he should know how to settle it on its right ground. 
He may find, perhaps, that, in the world of letters, discussion 
is extensively carried on respecting the outward evidences of 
Christianity, and he may sometimes meet with objections 
and difficulties which it may seem required of him to answer, 
or to solve. Let him know, and be assured, that he is faii-ly 
liable to no such demand. His evidence of the truth and 
divinity of the Gospel is in his heart, evidence conclusive by 
itself, and in the face of all objections. What is it to him 
that there is an assault of unbelievers on the outworks of the 
"strong city" in which he dwells? Let a chosen band of 
the Lord's host, endowed with competent skill, go forth and 
encounter them; but let the children of Zion not meddle in 
the affray, for wliich they are not armed, and by which their 
security cannot be endangered. 

In plain words, I say to believers in Jesus, Do not read 
infidel books ; either as led by an itching curiosity, or as 
provoked by hostile challenge. Certainly, you may employ 
your time to much greater profit ; while it is possible, perhaps 
probable, that, by doing so, you may be led into entangle- 
ments and embarrassments much to be regretted. 

I go further, and say to believers in Jesus, Do not attempt 
to answer infidel objections to Christianity. If you ai-e ever 
led to seek the conversion of an infidel, pass all his objections 
by, and resolutely refuse to notice them. Begin with him 


where God begins, witli his guilt and misery as a condemned 
sinner, and the love of God in the gift of his Son for his 
salvation. You may not in this manner convert him, but 
you certainly will not in any other; while, by attempting to 
answer his objections, you may entangle and injure yourself. 

We may learn, also, how important it is for a believer in 
Jesus to cultivate vigorous and li^-ely piety. Not only his 
strength and comfort as a Christian, but his armour against 
the assaults of infidelit}^ lies here. It is by religion within 
him, and by this only, that he knows that the Gospel of his 
salvation is true. But for this, he might be open to the 
suggestion that the Bible is a foi-gery, and his hope a delu- 
sion. Christian! keep bright thy inward evidence, if thou 
wouldst keep at bay the audacious infidel, or the lurking 
enemy of thy soul ! 

I close this discourse with a word to the ungodly. You 
may resentfully complain, perhaps, of what I have said, that 
to you, as unbelievers, practical!}' no evidence is presented of 
the truth and divinity of Christianity, since neither leai'ning 
nor time is granted you for the mastery of that which exists. 
To believe in the truth and divinity of Christianity, however, 
is not the thing — at all events, it is not the first thing — 
which is required of you. Your immediate duty is to be 
reconciled to God, your immediate interest is to flee from the 
wrath to come. By the Gospel God appeals directly to your 
conscience and to your heart. Let your heart and your con- 
science respond to him. If you will not do this, he holds 
you guilty of a wrong, and "wnll bring you into judgment for 
it, for which it will be your wisdom to prepare yourself as 
best you may. But, above all things, raise no pretext for 
delay by alleging that you are examining the evidences of 
Christianity. As a rebel against God, you have no right to 
delay for a moment, under any pretext, your reconciliation 
to him; nor, while you are a rebel, will any examination of 
evidences lead you to conviction. Just do his will, and then 
you " shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God." 


"The cup whicli my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it?" — 
John xviii. 11. 

What an interesting and wonderful tliouglit it is that 
Christ should be our example! There ai-e some divines, 
indeed, who teach us that Christ is our example, and nothing 
more; that he both lived only in order to teach us how to 
live, and died only to show us how willing we ought to be to 
die for righteousness. But I am not going to jjreach to you 
this gospel; it is not one which I can either trust for my- 
self, or commend to you. And, assuredly, it is not the 
doctrine of Holy Scri})ture. It is surely more than this that 
the prophet means when he tells us that the Lord "made 
his soul an offering for sin" (Isa. liii. lo); and the apostle, 
when he says that Christ " bare our sins in his own body on 
the tree" (i Pet. ii. 24). Nor is it less than the shedding of 
his blood as a sacrifice of expiation for sin that can give a 
solid peace to the guilty and awakened conscience. 

It is, nevertheless, a fact, and, as I have said, an interest- 
ing and wonderful fact, that Christ is our example. It is 
wonderful that he can be so; for, when we think of him as 
a divine person, it seems hard to conceive how he, being 
God, can have acted under the influences which determine 
the conduct of men. Yet we have to think of him as not 
divine only, but as human also; his wonderful person being 
constituted of the two natures in intimate combination, so 
that he was both God and man, and as truly and perfectly 
the latter as the former. As man, therefore, he properly 
and necessarily acted under human motives, and acted out 
human feeliags, so that his conduct may justly be regarded 
as a pattern for oui's. 

And it is a highly intei'esting thought that it should be 
so. Here is an example presented to us, as an example 
should be, without defect or imperfection; and yet one 


which is not, in its perfection, so absolutely elevated above 
us as to be beyond our imitation : it is perfect rectitude and 
consummate beauty, yet both in the exercise of faculties like 
our own, and in circimistances like our owoi. It is God 
clothing himself with humanity in order to show us how he 
would live if he were man. 

And it is remarkable how strikingly the life of Christ was 
adapted to be generally, I may say universally, exemplary to 
us. An ordinary life is commonly of one kind, passed in 
similar scenes, and having little variety; but the life of 
Christ partook of many aspects of human condition, and 
exhibited widely diverse phases of human character. He 
was at once poor and rich; "a man of soitows," and of 
celestial gladness; of humble origin, yet heir to a thi-one; 
persecuted to the death, yet the applauded hero of a royal 
procession. Who among men may not find a model here? 

And that he meant his actions to be exemplary cannot be 
questioned. You are familiar with at least one instance in 
which this design was avowed. After the passover supper, 
he "laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded 
himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and 
began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the 
towel wherewith he was gh-ded. ... So, after he had 
washed theii- feet, and had taken liis garments, and was set 
down again, he said unto them. Know ye what I have done 
to you? Ye call me Master and Lord, and ye say well; for 
so I am. If I, then, your Lord aud Master, have washed 
your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I 
have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done 
to you" (John xiii. 4-15). It cannot be supposed that in its 
general design this action stands alone. His whole life is 
doubtless comprehended in the general statement of the 
apostle, that Christ "left us an example, that we should 
follow his steps" (i Pet. ii. 21). I do not know, indeed, 
that I should say absolutely his lohole life, since there are at 
least two aspects of it which may justly be deemed excep- 
tional. The first of these is the employment of miraculous 
power, in which, of course, we have no participation; and 
the second is the occasional assiimption of indignant denun- 
ciation, which to him, undoubtedly, was competent, but 
which would not appear to be, under any circumstances, 
warrantable in his disciples at large. With these exceptions, 


perhaps, the whole of Christ's life may be deemed exemplary; 
the simplicity and purity of his personal character, the ele- 
vation of his piety, his active benevolence, his meekness in 
provocation, his patience in suffering. 

It is this last feature of his character that is brousrht 


under our notice by the words of our text : " The cup 
which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink if?" Let us 
notice, in the first place, the attitude in which our blessed 
Lord is here exhibited; and, in the second place, the lessons 
vi^hich it is adapted to teach us. 

I. We notice, in the first place, the attitude in which our 
blessed Lord is here exhibited. 

Jesus Christ had always been '• a man of sorrows, and 
acquainted with grief;" but he was now in the midst of that 
baptism of woe in which his sufferings wei'e consummated, 
iind the words which are before us exhibit his attitude as a 
sufferer in three aspects. 

I. Here is, in the first place, a devout recognition of the 
hand of God. He calls his soitow "the cup which my 
Father giveth me." 

In the actual circumstances this language is scarcely less 
than surprising. If, indeed, it had been uttered when, 
shortly before, he had been enduring that mysterious agony 
which, in default of any apparent cause, could be ascribed to 
nothing but the immediate hand of God, it Avould have been 
obviously appropriate. That loas a cup which his Father 
gave him. But now the circumstances were widely different. 
He was still, indeed, with his disciples in the garden of 
Gethsemane ; but this privileged and hallowed retirement 
had been violated by a band of officers, who, sent by the 
chief priests, and guided by a treacherous disciple who "knew 
the place," had come to effect his arrest. This trouble was 
surely not from the hand of God, but from that of man. 
The malignity and force of his enemies were at work here ; 
and yet Jesus says of this, it is " the cup which my Father 
giveth me." 

Nor was he mistaken. For second causes, however promi- 
nent they may be, never operate but under the control of 
the great First Cause. Oh ! how dreadful our lot woiild be 
if it were otherwise! God be thanked that his superior 
power and will rule, and overrule, all beings, and that nothing 
can occur to us but by his permission, and for the working 


out of his purpose. No one knew this better than he who 
was now suffering under liuman and diabolical malice, and 
he promptly and devoutly acknowledged it. This treache- 
rous disciple, and these armed bands, were to him but the 
ministers of his Father's will; they but filled the cup which 
his Father gave him. And there is every reason to believe 
that our Lord cherished the same sentiment throughout the 
whole period of his further sufferings. Could he refuse such 
a cup? 

2. In the attitude of Cln-ist as here exhibited, there is, 
in the second place, a touching reference to God's parental 
relation to him. He says, " The cup which my Father 
giveth me." 

It is true, indeed, that this epithet was ordinarily used by 
our Lord when sjjeaking of God; but it has a special force 
and signification when employed in this hour of sorrow. It 
at once puts the idea of divine sovereignty in its strongest 
form, and blends with it a sentiment of infinite tenderness. 
A father's will requires reverent submission; but it is a will 
submission to which must be of all most easy, since it is a 
will of assured wisdom and love. And on this tender senti- 
ment Jesus seems to have been especially leaning in the 
depth of his sufterings. The cup he had to drink v/as the 
cup which his Father gave him. It was not a cup of wrath, 
a token of alienation from his Father's heart. In taking it 
Jesus did not indulge any suspicion of his Father's love, but 
afliectionately called him Father still. He was happily able 
to say, '"'my Father," without a doubt upon his spirit. He 
was sure, therefore, not only that all was kind, but that all 
was wise; and that his sufterings were working out a design 
as worthy of infinite wisdom as consistent with infinite love. 
Could he refuse such a cup? 

We may put this idea into comparison with others which 
might have been influential on the mind of our Lord, and 
which, indeed, we know were so. It was on this same 
occasion, according to the narrative of Matthew (Matt. 
xxvi. 54), that he sustained himself by a refei-ence to the 
wi-itings of the ancient prophets, and the course which had 
been by inspiration marked out for him. " But how, then," 
said he, " shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must 
be?" We know, also, that his mind could be no stranger to 
the recollection of the srreat work which was to be accom- 


plished by his sorrows; and lie might have said, "If I do 
not drink this cup, liow shall this perishing world be re- 
deemed?" Such thoughts as these would undoubtedly have 
been gi-eat suppoi'ts to his mind, but he leaned rather on 
tenderness and love. " The cup which my Father giveth 
me," said he, "shall I not drink iti" 

3. In the attitude of Christ as here exhibited, we notice, 
in the third place, his entire and coi'dial submission. " The 
cup which my Father giveth me, shall I not drink it?" 

The entu'e and cordial submission so strongly expressed in 
this language was no less decisively manifested in his whole 
behaviour. When the " band of men and officers from the 
chief priests and Pharisees" came, "with lanterns, and 
torches, and weapons," he neither attempted resistance, nor 
sought escape. He "went forth, and said unto them. Whom 
seek jeV And when they answered him, "Jesus of Naza- 
reth," he replied, " I am he." Nor did he take advantage 
of the supernatural terror under the influence of which the 
officers "went backward, and fell to the ground," but a 
second time he exhibited the same courtesy. 

This quiet surrender of himself was little to the taste of 
his disciples, one of whom — Peter — led by his constitutional 
ardour, drew his sword, and smote off the ear of the high 
priest's servant. But in this Jesus showed no sympathy. 
On the contrary, he rebuked even this act of friendship, and 
healed the wound which had been inflicted. Yet it was not 
weakness ; for he must have been conscious of a power 
before the slightest exercise of which these armed bands 
would have sunk, not into faintness merely, but into deatL 
"Knowest thou not," he said to Peter, "that I could now 
pray to my Father, and he should give me more than twelve 
legions of angels'?" But his Father had put the cuji into his 
hand, and he would " drink it " at once, without resistance, ' 
and without a murmui-. 

Such in sorrow was Jesus. How lovely a sufierer ! 
Simple, and without extravagance; yet perfect, and with- 
out a flaw. And did he set herein an example for us? Are 
we to suffer — may we suffer — as he did? What a high 
endeavour ! What a blessed hope ! 

II. Let us reverently, then, in the second place, address 
ourselves to the lessons which we are thus to learn. 

Our sufferings are, of course, in some most important 


respects, widely dissimilar from those of our Lord, more 
especially as liis sufferings constituted an expiation for sin; 
yet, as he suffered, so, in point of fact, we suffer too, and in 
ways so far like his own as to render his deportment in suf- 
fering justly exemplary to us. 

I. And, in the first place, we have to learn from his 
example in all om- sufferings to acknowledge the hand of 

In many cases God is not the immediate "author of our 
sorrow, but second causes intervene, by which ovu' attention 
is apt to be too far withch-awn from him. Sometimes, by 
carelessness or by folly, we inflict injury on ourselves; and 
we fiet at ourselves on account of it. Sometimes we suflfer 
injiu-y from external causes, as in many cases of disease; and 
then we repine, perhaps, at the weather, or the prevalent 
infection. Sometimes we suffer iujvuy from others, as from 
an angiy enemy, or a treacherous fi-iend ; and then we 
denounce the evil disposition of which we have been the 
victim. But in all such cases the immediate presence of 
second causes blinds us to the remoter, but not less certain, 
action of the first cause. Neither angry enemy nor treache- 
rous friend, neither chilling wind nor pestiferous blast, 
neither faidts nor follies of our own, can inflict injury upon 
us without the oversight and permission of the universally 
supei-intending Providence. Everytliing occurs by, at least, 
the permissive will of God, If ever there was an occasion 
on which the immediate action of men might have been 
recognized, one was constituted by that which happened to 
our Lord in the circumstances which we have been contem- 
plating. A band of officers from the chief priests, led by a 
treacherous disciple, had come to ari-est liim; and of this 
human assaidt he immediately speaks as the cup which liis 
Father gave him. It was no wonder he bore it calmly. 

And could not we, too, bear affliction more calmly, at 
least, than it is often borne, if we were thus promptly to 
recognize the hand of God in aU things'? How tranquillizing 
the thought is, that, as not a sparrow falleth to the ground 
without his notice, so no incident in our affaii-s is without 
his permission, or other than an instrument of his will. 
Even respecting angry Shimei, Da\ad said, " Let him curse, 
for God hath bidden him." And by a similar recollection 
we might discipline ourselves into a reverent submission to 


the supreme and sovereign will wliicli it is our privilege to 
recognize, and to wliicli it is our duty to bow. 

2. In the second place, we have to learn from the example 
of our Lord in all our sufferings to recognize God as a 

This is not a matter without difficulty. When God's 
dealings with us are agreeable, it is comparatively easy to 
call him Father, and to think him kind; but, when his dis- 
pensations are painful, our feeling of his fatherly relation to 
lis is apt to become clouded, and our recognition of it embar- 
rassed. We think that his methods are too severe for it, 
and that, if he were a father, he would not treat us so. How 
great an aggravation this is of trouble we know, perhaps, too 
well. It is an immediate loss of one of the sweetest conso- 
lations it is possible to enjoy, and it gives to affliction of 
every kind a chai'acter of intensity Avhich it is the hardest of 
all to bear. 

I have already observed hoAv great was Christ's happiness 
in that no cloud ever rested on his experience, and that he 
could, in his deepest sufferings, always call God, Father. 
You, j^erhaps, dear reader, say that it is not thus with you, 
and that you cannot call God, Father. O ! if you could ! 
How easily then could you take the cup of affliction at his 
hand, and drink it ! Then go to him, dear reader, and tell 
him so. Tell him that the cup is too bitter without the 
light of his countenance and the consolations of his love; 
and that you cannot drink it until he give you a filial spirit, 
and help you to take it as the cup which your Father giveth 
you. Will he be displeased with your importunate request 
for such a privilege ? 

! it is inconceivable how great a mitigation even of the 
bitterest cup it is to take it as from a father's hand. We 
are sure then that it is given us, not in wrath, but in love. 
We seem to hear him say as he presents it to us, " I will do 
you no hurt;" and we know that he will not. Our tenderest 
and most precious interests can suffer no damage from Ibis 
hand. Nay, we cannot but be confident that he means to do 
us good, and, if in a way of mystery, yet in a way of wisdom 
too. There is a supremacy, indeed, in the position of a 
father against which a child may not rebel ; but there is a 
lovingkindness in the heart of a father which a child cannot 
mistrust. And, if it is even so with an earthly parent, how 
much more with our Father who is in heaven ! 


Yes, it can admit of no doubt tliat tliere are, in liis judg- 
ment, and tlierefore in reality, things better for us than 
uninterrupted prosperity, and unbroken pleasure. There 
may be wise, holy, and blessed, objects to be attained by 
putting a cup of sorrow into our hand, and worth all the 
bitterness that may be infused into it. Can we not trust a 
Father that loves us so well 1 

3. In the third place, we have to learn from the example 
of our Lord to exercise a cordial submission to divine dis- 

" The cup which my Father giveth me," said he, "shall I 
not drink it ?" Let me be allowed the familiarity of saying, 
that there is a difference between di'inking an unpleasant 
potion and being drenched with it. It is taken in either 
case, but in a different manner. The temper of the child is 
not the same. In the one case there is a gentle submission, 
in the other a, stubborn resistance, which a parent's hand, as 
well as a parent's authority, is wanted to overcome. It is 
only in this manner that some children will take medicine, 
and it is only in a manner very much like this that many of 
God's children will drink the cup of sorrow. Drink it, 
indeed, they will not ; but, since it must be taken, the 
heavenly Father is obliged to di'ench them with it, and he 
does so. 

Ah, my brethren, is this like good children 1 Were it not 
more worthy of our privilege to take the cup out of our 
Father's hand more submissively ? We gain nothing by our 
resistance, for the cup is divinely filled for us, and we must 
drink it : the only q uestion is, whether we shall drink it 
amidst the misei'ies of a com2:)laining and reluctant tempei', 
or with the kindly gentleness of a svibmissive spirit. Which 
would be most Chrisl^like we know : have we the grace to 
imitate him 1 

What a wonderful and touching thought it is, my brethren, 
that this noble and beautiful pattern of child-like suftering 
should be set before us for our imitation. So Jesiis suffered; 
and so we may suffer. It is our privilege, our calling, our 
hope. Can we aspire so high 1 Do we really wish to throw 
off our impatience, our murmurings, our petulance; to take 
the cup which our Father giveth us, and drink HI It 
is a high and noble calling : may God count us worthy 
of it! 


The submissiveness of Jesus in soitow has made no incon- 
siderable contribution to his glory. It is remembered in 
heaven how gently he took out of his Father's hand the cup 
of angTiish, and how submissively he drank it ; and it consti- 
tutes one of the elements of his everlasting praise. And we, 
if we will imitate his example in his humiliation, may be 
associated with him in his glory. Like his, our resignation 
shall not lose its reward. But will our impatience gain one? 

It is a blessed thought, my brethren, that it is only in this 
world that the heavenly Father presents to his children the 
cup of sorrow. It was so with the first-bom. He drinks 
now the wine of the kingdom, and has put into his hand a 
cup in which there is no bitterness. And it shall be so with 
us. Here our cup of sorrow cannot be evaded, but it shall 
be no element of our future condition. There is no more 
sickness, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, neither shall there 
be any more death ; for the former things are passed away. 
There all is joy, everlasting joy. Come, then, heavenly 
Father; give us the cup which thou hast prepared for us. 
From thiae hand we will accept, and drink it. 


" He had respect unto the recompense of the reward." — Heh. xi. 26. 

In the extended and highly-interesting passage of which 
these words are a part, the apostle has in his hands the 
subject of Faith; faith, not in the sense in -which it is the 
instrument of a sinner's deliverance from wrath, but in the 
sense in which it is the vital power of a Christian's activity. 
Thus in chap, x., ver. 38, he says, "The just shall live by 
faith;" and at the commencement of chap. xi. he gives a 
definition of this all-important grace: "Now faith is the 
substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not 
seen;" or, more properly, faith is the realization of things 
not seen, the substantiation of things hoped for. And he 
then gives many examples of the power which faith, in this 
view of it, had exercised. His examples, indeed, are all 
drawn from the Old Testament; but this was of necessity, 
since, at the time he wrote, there were no others to be cited : 
and, if it should be observed that they are not all of them 
examples of trvie religion, it will be found that they all of 
them illustrate the power of faith in the sense in which he 
is treating of it. 

Of these examples we are not now about to speak in 
detail. We direct our attention particularly to that of 
Moses, who, "when he was come to years, refused to be 
called the son of Pharaoh's daughter," but identified himself 
with his afllicted brethren of the house of Israel. His conduct 
in this instance was certainly sufficiently remarkable. His 
adoption by the royal Egyptian princess placed liim in cir- 
cumstances highly favourable to his temporal advancement, 
perhaps, rendered possible his ultimate possession of the 
ci-own; while his renunciation of this prerogative would not 
only blast all his worldly prospects, but would practically 
mix him vip with a people enslaved, degraded, and oppressed. 
We may well ask what could have been the reasons of such 


a choice; and the answer to this question is given in the 
words of our text, " He had respect to tlie recompense of 
the reward." 

These words are interesting and full of meaning, but it is 
not in the first instance easy to see Avhat their meaning can 
be. What was " the recompense of the reward " to which 
Moses had respect 1 Assuredly, nothing earthly, for all earthly 
considerations were renounced in the very fact of his choice. 
And what else was before him 1 The language employed by 
the apostle will afford us a clue to this mystery. " By faith 
Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the 
son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to sufier afflic- 
tion with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of 
sin for a season; esteeming tlie rej^roach of Christ greater 
riches than the treasures in Egypt" (ver. 24-26). The 
reproach of being a Hebrew was, then, in some sense, "the 
reproach of Christ." In what sense? It was rej)roach borne 
for Christ ; for from that despised Hebrew race was Christ 
to descend, and by identifying himself with that race alone 
could Moses secure a relation to him. This, then, was 
" the recompense of the reward " to which he had respect. 
Favoured with an enlightened view of the character and 
kingdom of the Messiah, he preferred taking a part in 
advancing the process which led to his coming, and securing 
an interest in the Ijlessings of his reign, to all that Egypt 
could ofier him ; and he made his practical choice accordingly. 

But, turning now from the particular case of Moses, we 
may found upon our text the general observation, that in 
true religion there is an element of reward. 

I. We shall make it our business, in the first place, to lay 
down this doctrine cleai'ly, with the necessary explanations. 
We say with the necessary explanations, because we allow 
that explanations are necessary, and that the language we 
have employed is liable to be misunderstood. 

True religion, then, be it observed, is for from being 
tvholhj a matter of reward. In regard to the primary aspect 
of religion, our deliverance from the curse of the law and 
our acceptance with God, througli the mercy of God, and the 
obedience unto death of our Lord Jesus Christ, a provision is 
made which becomes effectual to us by our faith, or by our 
submission to God's method of justifying us through his Son. 
No regard is had in this respect to our faith itself, beyond its 


instrumentality to give efficacy to the mechanism (so to 
speak) "vvhich God has contiived and arranged, and which 
waits for this act of submission on our part in order to avail 
for our justification. 

But a secondary view may be taken of religion. After 
the primary questions of our deliverance from wi-ath and 
acceptance ^vit]l God are settled, and settled once for all, 
religion is in continuance a life, both of self-denial, and of 
service; and in botli these views there may be — there is — 
attached to it an element of reward. 

Here let us first make good our position, that religion is a 
life both of self-denial and of service. 

And, fii'st, for self-denial. Our readers will immediately 
call to remembrance the language of our Lord, in which he 
declares self-denial, both in the act and the habit, to be 
among the great features of the Christian life. "If any 
man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up 
his cross daily, and follow me" (LiLke ix. 23). And on 
another occasion, when " there went great multitudes with 
him, he turned, and said unto them. If any man come to me, 
and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, 
and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he 
cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his 
cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple " (Luke xiv. 


It is true, indeed, that the disdpleship of Christ was then 
to be taken up under circumstances of special difficulty and 
hazard ; but the great principle is the same in all ages, and in. 
all cu-cumstances. In the heart which is given to Jesus all 
other objects of aifection must be subordinated to him. A 
man's father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren 
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, must be loved less 
than Christ, or he is surely not fitted for the frequent, and 
sometimes costly, sacrifices which his professed discipleship 
may requii-e at Ms hands. 

And in the experience of piety we know that it is so. In 
taking Christ for our Lord, the principle of self-preference 
and self-pleasing is consciously exchanged for consecration to 
him. In spirit we sacrifice everything for him; and few of 
his disciples pass a life in which the spu-it of sacrifice is not 
called into very sensible practical action. It is still the 
Christian's necessai-y calling to " take up his cross daily." 



And, as religion is a life of self-denial, so also it is a life 
of service. Christ reckons lis his servants, and gives "to 
every man his work." Whether we eat or drink, or what- 
soever we do, we are to do all to the glory of God. Our 
example is to shine to his praise. Our conversation is to 
minister grace to the hearers. Our time, our talents, our 
property, our domestic and social influence, all are to be 
employed for him. Of all the gifts bestowed on us in his 
manifold bounty we are stewards, and we shall have to give 
an account of our employment of them. 

Keligion being thus a life at once of service and self-denial, 
we say that an element of reward is attached to it. 

In point of fact, siich is the express statement of Holy 
Scriptui-e itself Hear, for example, the words of our Lord : 
"There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, 
ov father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake 
and the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now 
in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, 
and children, and lands, with persecutions ; and in the world 
to come eternal life " (Mark x. 29, 30). It is, of course, not 
possible to understand this language literally. Its meaning 
must be one in which it can be fulfilled in destitution, in the 
dungeon, at the stake; and the idea seems to be that the loss 
of temporal things shall be largely compensated by the 
abundance of spiritual joy. We know that in fact it has 
been so. Martyi-s at the stake have exj^ei-ienced a trium- 
phant gladness in which the happiness of a whole life may 
well be conceived to have been concenti-ated ; and there are 
sufferers for Christ in modern days, and indifectly known to 
ourselves, whose joy under persecution seems greatly to over- 
balance its bitterness. And, if it be so in the present world, 
how much more amidst the transcendent glories of the world 
to come! 

And, as an element of reward is thus attached to self- 
denial, so is it also to service.. This is made plain by the 
parable of the talents, in every form in which it is presented 
to us. Thus, for example, as we have it in the gospel by 
Matthew: "And so he that had received five talents came 
and brought other five talents, saying. Lord, thou deliveredst 
unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five 
talents more. His lord said unto him. Well done, thou 
good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few 


things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou 
into the joy of thy lord" (Matt. xxv. 20, 21). And this idea 
was freely taken up l)y the apostles. In the epistle to the 
Hebrews, for example, we have the follo^\^.ng language : " For 
God is not unrighteous to forget your Work and labour of 
love which ye have showed toward his name, in. that ye have 
ministered to the saints, and do minister'' (Heb. vi. lo). The 
idea entered largely into the experience of the apostles them- 
selves, for thus speaks the prince of the apostles: "I have 
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept 
the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a cro\vn of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give 
me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also 
that love his apjjearing" (2 Tim. iv. 7, 8). 

And, if it needed further illustration, this might be 
derived from the second and third chapters of the book of 
Revelation, where the addresses to the churches are wound 
up in every instance with a stimulating appeal of this kind. 
Let us take a single specimen : " To him that overcometh 
■yill I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also 
overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" 
(Rev. iii. 21). 

It is thus evident from Scripture that an element of 
reward does attach to the Christian life. Let us now endea- 
vour to unfold this idea by two or three general remarks. 

In the first place, there is in the Christian life an element 
fitted to reward: nothing, indeed, by which reward can be 
merited, but something with which reward may be con- 
gruous. What we mean is lo^'e; love to Christ, the ani- 
mating principle of the Christian's life, whether in respect of 
self-denial or of service. We all feel it is a universal dictate 
of the human heart, that eveiy expression of love is entitled 
to a kindly, if not a grateful, acknowledgment; and he that 
has constituted man's heart thiis has surely made it after the 
pattern of his own. Every expression of love towards him 
he may fitly mark with some token of his approval and 
acceptance. Should we go too far if we were to say that it 
would be xm worthy of Mm not to do so? 

In the second place, God is in possession of means by which 
tokens of love to him may be suitably rewarded. There 
may not unnaturally be a kind of recoil from the idea of 
reward, under the forms in which it is usually presented to us 


in tlie Scriptures — such as that of wearing a crown, or being 
seated on a throne; but we should recollect that these, and all 
other expressions of the same class, are figures of speech, and 
not descriptions. Through the difficulty, the impossibility, 
rather, of expressing in mortal words celestial things, the 
most beautiful of earthly objects are used as metaphors; but 
we should not allow the glitter of the metaphor to hide from 
us the very dissimilar, but far greater, glory of the reality. 
The thing which crowns and thrones denote is the love of 
God, responsive to, and in gracious acceptance of, our love to 
him; and while this, in its highest expressions, confers an 
honour infi.nitely higher than the earthly baubles which are 
put into comparLson with it, it constitutes a recompense 
which we cannot for a moment despise, but must, on the 
contrary, most highly appreciate. The love of God is the 
blessedness, not only of augels, but of Christ himself; it is 
the utmost blessedness of our own hearts, and every degree 
and every mode in which it may be expressed towards us 
must be acknowledged to bring new honour and new delight. 
Our service and self-denial, thei^efore, God can reward in ^ 
method of which we cannot but intensely feel the value. 

And, in the third place, that such reward should be 
wanting on God's part is a conception not to be entertained. 
It is not for a moment to be supposed that he will lay him- 
self under unrequited obligation to his creatures, or permit 
acts of seii'ice, often laborious, or acts of self-denial, often 
severe, to be rendered to him, and not repay them. He 
rather takes the opportunity of illustrating the boundless 
riches of his grace by a reward, appropriate, indeed, but 
unspeakably glorious. Not for our sakes, but for his own, he 
confers reward, and he does it according to his own fulness. 
Acknowledgments of service on earth correspond with the 
means of the party making them. The gratitude of the 
poor may be expressed in words ; but the rich return thanks 
after the measure of theii- wealth, and princes according to 
the style of royal bounty. What, then, shall be the magni- 
ficence of the rewai'ds conferred by the King of kings % 

II. We thus complete the first part of oiu- discoui'se, in 
which we proposed to lay down clearly the Christian doctrine 
of reward, with the necessary explanations. We now, in 
the second place, propose to show the claim which the doc- 
trine has to a practical regard. 


It is evident that the doctrine is not speculative, but 
adapted to exercise a direct and powerful practical iniiuence. 
Our religion is a life of service and self-denial, and various 
motives conspire to sustain us. Duty requires it, gratitude 
impels it, and love will make it sweet; but more than this, 
it will have a " recompense of reward." Every token of our 
love presented to God will be met by a token of his love in 
return, constituting a reward unutterably precious. 

I. O what a thought it is that our poor fleeting lives may 
be applied to such a purpose ! that we may be continually 
doing such things as God will kindly accept, and gratefully 
own ! O what a value should this teach us to attach to our 
moments and opportunities as they pass ! Shall we suffer 
them to .slide idly by, when a diligent improvement of them 
Avill provide us with inestimable joys for heaven and immoi"- 
tality? How gi-eat is the folly of our sloth, by which we 
lose so much ! How wise would be a wakeful diligence and 
an earnest zeal, that should suffer no opportunity to be lost, 
no moment to be void ! 

Ah ! brethren, are we not far fi'om living under the 
habitual realization and influence of this thought? How 
much of our time is idly spent ! How many of our means 
of usefulness are wasted ! And we think it hard to labour 
incessantly, and to take up our cross daily, and esteem a 
little, and perhaps not a little, sloth and self-indulgence a 
luxury ! Ah ! little do we think how precious a treasure is 
in our hands, and what inestimable joys we are trampling 
under foot ! What ! is it not enough to sweeten laboiu' to 
think that God will smile appro^^Jagly upon oiu- toil ? Is it 
not enough to make our deeds of Christian kindness delight- 
ful, to think that the eternal Judge will hereafter say, 
" Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my 
brethren, ye did it unto me'"? Is the future "recompense 
of reward " so trivial that it is outweighed by the fatigues of 
present labour, or the pains of pi-esent sacrifice 1 Might we 
not rather justly say, Would that labours and self-denials 
might be a thousand times multiplied, if all might in a 
similar manner be rewarded ! Are not they most privileged 
who have most to do and most to bear, and who bear and 
do it most cheerfully and most diligently 1 

2. • The idea before us is the more worthy of being deeply 
pondered, because of the place which it evidently holds in 


God's method of dealing with lis. Not only is there a 
natural adaptation in the system of reward to stimulate our 
zeal and sustain our patience, hut it is the method which 
God, in his infinite wisdom and grace, has devised for this 
purpose. " He knoweth our frame," and estimates justly all 
the sensibilities with which he has endowed it; and it is in 
his wisdom that he makes to lis this apj)eal. He thinks 
that the various tokens of his approbation which it is in 
his power to confer will recompense in a manner intensely 
gratifying to us every labour and every sacrifice, however 
numerous, or however severe, and that in creating oppor- 
tunities of attaiuuig them he does us an inestimable kind- 
ness. And do we, by a practical disregard of his method, 
mean to tell him that tliere is nothing in his rew-ards worth 
aspiring after, nothing fitted to kindle our ambition, or to 
make amends for our endurance 1 Ah ! how different it was 
with his first-born Son, " who, for the joy that was set 
before him, endured the cross, despising the shame" ! 

III. It will be said, however, probably, that it is not easy 
to bring this divine system of reward into practical opera- 
tion; and we will therefore proceed, in the third place, to 
some illustration of the mode in which this may be most 
effectually done. 

I. In the first place, the subject shoidd be kept clearly 
and broadly distinct from the question of our acceptance 
with God. With that, as we have already said, the concep- 
tion of reward has nothing to do, and we cannot allow the 
two to come into contact in our experience witliout creating 
confusion. The ])roper method is to regard our justification 
before God as a change already effected in our condition, and 
complete; a change effected by our exercise of faith in Christ, 
a transaction past, and never needing to be renewed. Then 
there is clear scope for the conception of reward, and facility 
for its practical application. But if, as is often the case, the 
question of our justification before God is a question never 
settled, but always in debate, the conception of reward can- 
not be entertained without mixing itself up with another, 
and one from whicli it ought to be kept entirely separate. 
Thiidc not of it, therefore, dear reader, until you are satisfied 
that, being justified by fixith, you have peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Cln-ist : after that, not as a rebel 
still needing release from condemnation, but as a child 


holding a conscious position in your lieavenly Father's love, 
have respect to the recompense of reward by which eveiy 
token of your filial love to him shall be rendered back into 
your bosom. 

2. In the second place, keep clearly before your eyes tlie 
nature of tbe rewards you are to expect. Understood in the 
letter, the scriptui'al descriptions of these may be unattrac- 
tive to you, inconsistent with your feelings of humility now, 
and with the humble position which you would anticipate for 
yourself in the heavenly world. You should recollect, how- 
ever, how entirely figurative these descriptions are, and how 
utterly unlike them all is the reality which they ai-e intended 
to exhibit to you. All that God beholds in you to recom- 
pense is love — the love wherewith you render him service, 
and bear your cross : and, in strictness, all with which he 
will recompense it is love — his love to you, in tokens of 
kindly acceptance and approval of yours to him. This may 
perhaps — perhaps miist — be an honour not only equal to, but 
far exceeding, that of wearing eartldy crowns or sitting on 
earthly thrones; but, however that may be, it is a i-ecom- 
pense which you cannot either despise or reject. It belongs 
essentially to your renovated character that the love of God 
should be your greatest happiness. It is so now, and it must 
be so hereafter. Thrones and crowns you might despise, but 
expressions of the love of God you must ever receive with 
reverent thankfulness, and ineffable delight. 

3. In the third place, sedulously cultivate the motive 
which will entitle you to reward. Note carefully, and set it 
down in your habitual recollection, that what is to be re- 
warded is neither service in itself, nor self-denial in itself, 
but the motive which ought to actuate both the one and the 
other. This motive is love, for "which God looks, and on 
which he will smile; but, where this is wanting, he sees 
nothing which can aiford him gratification. Ah ! how sadly 
we are wanting here ! Hoav much, eA^en of religious duty, 
is done as a mere matter of duty, or of routine ! How many 
acts of service and of self-denial are rendered withoiit much, 
perhaps without any, of the living power of love! And 
these all lose theii- reward! There is nothing in them to 
win divine recompense. Alas, great is our folly! O! let 
us see to it that what we do is done from love, that, at all 
events, it may be not unsusceptible of reward. 


In the method which we have thus cursorily illustrated 
we may pursue a daily course, having, like Moses, "respect 
unto the recompense of the reward." Faith may be to us, as 
to him, the realization of things not seen, and the substantia- 
tion of things hoped for; while futurity shall grow rich with 
the accumulating element, and its full manifestation shall 
constitute an inestimable part of the glory to be revealed. 


Feom boimdiess love and grace divine 
The hiunblest service finds reward ; 
And saints the recompense receive 
Which God's approving smiles afford. 

Nor thrones, nor crowns, can ever tell 
How high the honour of his praise. 
When deeds of faithful love shall be. 
Accepted, laid before his face. 

My God, and is such hope for me? 
wake, my heart, to glatl desire ! 
Such recompense before my eyes 
May well an earnest zeal inspire. 


" I will bless thee, . . . and thou shalt be a blessing."— (?e«. xii. 2. 

Ix the whole of the Okl Testament, no character stands 
out with gi-eater prominence, or exhibits itself with greater 
dignity, than that of Abraham. Of obscure origin, and of 
comparatively mean condition, he was selected in divine 
providence for a position of distinguished happiness and 
honour. His prerogative was announced to him by the God 
of the whole earth in the following terms : — 

" I will make of thee a great nation. 

And I will bless thee, 
And make thy name great, 

And thou shalt be a blessing. 
And I will bless them that bless thee, 
And curse him that curseth thee ; 
And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." 

And magnificently was this announcement fulfilled ; 
thi-ough a path of mystery, indeed, yet in the end the 
promise was found faithful. 

Abraham was blessed; primarily in his own spiritual 
condition, with a standing in God's favour and friendship. 
When the promise was made to him, " he believed in the 
Lord ; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 
XV. 6). Thus the great patriarch, like his precursor Noah, 
" became heii- of the righteousness which is by faith" (Heb. 
xi. 7), and was established ia his position as the "friend" of 
God (Isa. xli. 8). Subsequently the divine declaration, "I 
will be a God to thee," was nobly fulfilled by acts of divine 
guidance, protection, and benediction, which constitute one 
of the most interesting portions of Old Testament history. 

And Abraham was made a blessing; that is to say, a 
means, or a channel, of blessing to others. From him fiowed 
a multitude of temporal benefits to his immediate posterity, 


wliicli may be summed up in tlieir multiplication as a people, 
and their inheritance of the land of Canaan ; and from him 
have remotely flowed more ]5recious spiritual benefits to the 
■world, through his seed, the Christ. 

How interesting it is to find the apostle employing these 
facts as illustrative of the privileges of believers in Jesus, 
and telling us that "the blessing of Abraham comes on the 
Gentiles throiigh Jesus Christ" (Gal. iii. 14). In the first 
instance, no doubt, this language is verified in our justifica- 
tion by faith, a privilege in respect of which Abraham was 
"the father (or })attern) of all them that believe" (Romans 
iv. 11); but, if in this i-espect we imitate his example, the 
whole of Abraham's blessing follows in the train of our faith. 
To ourselves, as Avell as to the father of the faithful, may we 
regard it as said, " I will bless thee, and thou shalt be a 

Our subject needs no artificial division. Its two j^arts lie 
simply before us. It is the believer's blessing, personal and 

I. First, then, of the believer's personal blessing. " I will 
bless thee." We look on this as exemplified in the history 
of Abraham, and we notice the following particulars :— 

1. Abraham had God for his portion. In these terms the 
promise ran : " I will be a God to thee." And it was 
repeated in the following form: — "Fear not, Abram : I am 
thy shield, thy exceeding great rewaixl" (Gen. xv. i). In 
like manner it is the privilege of every believer in Jesus to 
say, "Thou art my portion, O Lord" (Ps. cxix. 57). Of 
what wonderful import the language is ! The Lord, with all 
his infinite fulness of glory and of grace — the Loi'd our 
portion ! How much gi-eater he is than all his gifts ! And 
how vastly he exceeds them all in giving us himself ! Yet 
nothing less can satisfy the exceeding riches of his grace, 
and, in truth, nothing less can satisfy the cravings of his 
creature, man. Such was Abraham's blessing, and such is 
ours, if we copy Abraham's faith. 

2. Abraham had a -wisely-allotted poi'tion of earthly good. 
In some respects he was a prosperous man. His wealth, ia 
cattle, and goods, and household servants, increased ; yet his 
prosperity was tempered with trial. He had no home, but 
was kept in a state of pei'petual wandering. He had no 
child, so that one born in his house would, to all appearance, 


be his heir. In the most material interests of life, Abraham 
was a tried and disappointed man. He wonld have given 
the half — perhaps tlie whole — of his wealth for a son. 
Yet was his portion of earthly good wisely allotted, and the 
prosperity of his early life was well adapted to the wants of 
his age. 

Like Abraham's, our lot also is a mixed one. None of us 
are without mercies, and probably some great ones ; none of 
us are without trials, and probably some sevei'e ones. But 
our portion of good and evil is, like Abraham's, allotted Avith 
divine skill, and shall be made conducive to its appointed 
end. No part of our lot is withoiit its jAnce in the plan of 
eternal wisdom ; and none shall be withoiit its immediate or 
remote results of good. The whole of it is blessing. 

3. Abraham was carried through a process of moral and 
spiritual culture. Brought out from a state of idolatiy, he 
had much to learn of the character and ways of the true 
God ; and, destined to a high position in divine providence, 
he was to be called to the exercise of distinguished virtue. 
Hence God said to him, "I am the Almighty God; walk 
before me, and be thou perfect" (Gen, xvii. i). His faith in 
the promise was put more than once to a severe test: in one 
instance, by the long delay of its fulfilment in the birth of 
Isaac; and in another, by the mysterious requirement to offer 
bis son in sacrifice. And the more his vii-tue was tried the 
more brightly it shone. " He staggered not at the promise 
thi-ough unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to 
God ; being fully persuaded that what he had promised he 
Avas able also to perform" (Rom. iv. 20, 21). Thus was 
Abraham prepared for his distinguished position as the 
pattern of believers, and the friend of God. 

And through a similar process are believers in Jesus also 
being carried. God's varioiis methods with them constitute 
the trial of their graces, increasing their strength, bringing 
them into more conspicuous exercise, and preparing them at 
once for appointed usefulness on " earth, and for destined 
honour in heaA'en. If trials are severe, they are but like the 
furnace into which gold is cast, not for its destruction, but for 
its purification. And trials may be regarded as bearing a 
proportion to the blessing intended. If Abraham was more 
tried than others, it was because he was to occupy a more 
conspicuous position, and to inlierit a larger blessing. 


4. Abraham enjoyed a watchful care and secure protection 
in all cii'cumstances. His circumstances were often perilous 
and difficult, of which your recollection of his histoiy will 
readily supply you with instances ; but his wanderings were 
directed by an ever- watchful eye, and his safety guarded by 
an Almighty hand. We may include him in the more 
general description given by the Psalmist of God's care over 
Israel : — 

" When they went from one nation to another, 
From one kingdom to another people, 
He suffered no man to do them wrong; 
Yea, he reproved kings for their sakes. 
Saying, Touch not mine anointed, 
And do my prophets no harm." p iq 1;; 

And a similar privilege belongs to believers in Jesus. If, 
like Abraham, they have to become wanderers in. a strange 
land, and to pitch their tabernacle in the midst of perils, 
there is an eye of, love that watches their every step, and an. 
arm of power ever outstretched for theii* defence. Neither 
accident shall befall them, nor malice injure them. The 
Lord shall deliver them from every evil work, and preserve 
them unto his heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. iv. 18). 

Thus, my brethren, the blessing of Abraham comes upon 
us through Jesus Christ. Is it not a high privilege for us to 
be blessed after so distinguished a pattern ? 

II. But let us now look at the relative part of Abraham's 
blessing. "I will bless thee, and thou shalt be a blessing." 
This was a conspicuous portion of the patriarch's prerogative, 
and it might seem to be one in which he might stand alone. 

It is true, indeed, that there are some among believers in 
Jesus who are either so eminently gifted, or so influentially 
placed, that they d"o become a blessing to others, and perhaps 
extensively so ; but, if the blessing of Abraham really comes 
on the Gentiles through faith, it must belong to all believers 
in Jesus, and not only to a few of them. And so, in truth, 
we take the fact to be. To every believer in Jesus it is said, 
"Thou shalt be a blessing." Let us see, first, in what 
methods this may be made good, and, then, what is the value 
of the pr'ivilege. 

I. In what methods may this language be made good? 

It is a general fact in the constitution of human society, 
that every member of it exerts an influence on others. In 


this sense it is a vmiversal truth that " none of us liveth to 
himself" (Rom. xiv. 7). Necessarily brought into domestic 
or social contact with some, and, almost necessarily, ^Ndth 
many, of our fellow-men, we inevitably, by our example and 
otherwise, exert an influence vipon them of some kind, 
whether good or evil. What kind of influence we exercise 
depends upon the nature of our example and our conduct ; 
but some influence we infallibly exercise, and we may exert 
much if we try, and improve our opportunities. A Christian, 
then, cannot fail in some degree, to be made a blessing, even 
although the sphere of his influence may be of the narrowest 
kind. And this in several ways. 

First, because he will usefully fulfil the duties of life in 
every situation in which he may be placed. He will not be 
an undutiful son, an unkind husband, a negligent father, an 
unfaithful servant, an oppressive master. In these, and in 
all other relations of life, he will, as a Christian, act a Chris- 
tian pai-t, and so fulfil the duties of his position as to realize 
all the advantages they are intended to secure. Filial duty, 
conjugal love, parental fidelity, social industry, and benevo- 
lence, cannot bvit be useful ; and thus, if not otherwise, ■ 
every Christian will assuredly be made a blessing. 

Secondly, every Christian is sure to be made a blessing, 
because his example will exercise a beneficial influence. A 
bad example is universally felt to diffuse an evil influence. 
The giddy, the passionate, the profane, the profligate, 
wherever they are, by their very presence do mischief; and 
in like manner, whei'ever they ai-e, by their very presence, 
the upright, the pure, the meek, the heavenly-minded, do 
good. Their virtues may be said to ci'eate an atmosphere 
favourable to virtue, and unfavourable to vice. They rebuke 
sin, they commend religion, they invite to imitation. They 
shine as lights in a dark place. 

Thirdly, every Christian is sure to be a blessing, because 
he is both able and apt to improve the opportunities of doing 
good which every situation presents. For we say, without 
fear, that every situation presents some opportunities — some 
more and some less, but every one some oi^portunities — of 
doing good. And a Christian is not an ignorant man, not 
knowing how to do good; he is not a self-indulgent man, not 
caring to do good; he is not an unfeeling man, indiflerent to 
the wants of those around him : on the contrary, he is the 


very opposite of all this ; a man of feeling heart, of ready 
self-denial, of spiritual wisdom ; just the man who cannot 
see opportunities of doing good without being stirred up to 
embrace them, and who cai-ries with him everywhere the 
spiritual wisdom to meet the needs he tinds. 

Thus a Christian, let him be placed whei'e he may in 
human society, cannot but be made a blessing. 

We may go beyond this, however, and, referring to the 
arrangements of divine providence, may say, that every 
Christian is placed where he is in order that he may be made 
a blessing. 

It was evidently so in the case of Abraham. Had he 
been left in Ur of the Chaldees, and in the house of his 
father, he would not have become such a means of blessing, 
either to his posterity, or to the world. It was not an acci- 
dent that made him so; but his jjosition was chosen for 
him, and he for his position. Nor was it less e\ddently so 
with other illustrious characters of Old Testament history. 
Noah, Moses, and David, were men for the places which 
they filled, and each of them was put in his place in order 
that he might fill it to the greatest advantage. Aiid 
that which we may observe in conspicuous instances is 
undoubtedly the rule of divine providence. Although less 
manifest to human eyes, it cannot be doubted that every 
man, even in the most ordinary spheres of life, has his 
special aptitude and adaptation to the activities of life, and 
is ])laced where they may most powerfully, or most fruit- 
fully, be called into operation. And thus in the providential 
location of his people God secures that tbey shall be a 
blessing, by placing them in circumstances which they have 
a special fitness to occu])y, and where opportunities of bene- 
ficial action abound. 

2. Let us now inquire, in the second place, what is the 
value of this prerogative: "Thou shalt be a blessing." 

It is a happiness which may well make us contented in 
any cu-cunistances, however adverse. It is readily to be 
admitted, that many positions in life are sufticiently disagree- 
able, and call on the Christian for strenuous exercises of 
resignation; but yet the thought is cheering, that, while no 
situation can deprive a Christian of his personal blessing, so 
none can deprive him of his relative blessing. He may — if 
he act a Christian part, he shall — be made a blessing any- 


where, and where he is especially; more so than he might 
be if his circumstances were of a moi-e agreeable kind. 
He need not, therefore, repine at affliction, or pine after 
worldly prospeiity. Let it comfort him that, in the absence 
of this, he may still be a blessuig, and may find in his sor- 
rows some special adaptation to his visefulness. 

It is a happiness which should be ranked among the 
highest in any circumstances, however prosperous. Doubt- 
less prosperity is pleasant, and it is sweet to enjoy; but it is 
sweeter to be made a blessing than even to be blessed. The 
latter is a selfish luxury; the former is a generous one. It 
is even Godhke; for to communicate is, in the highest sense, 
God's prerogative. O ! 'tis more happy to be made " a 
blessing" than to roll in wealth, or to revel in luxury. 

It is a happiness to be highly valued because of its 
security in all circumstances. Some of our pleasures are 
occasional — either in their nature transient, or liable to 
interruption by the change of our circumstances; this, how- 
ever, is a happiness for all seasons, and adapted to resist the 
influence of all changes. A Christian may be a blessing in 
health or in sickness, in wealth or in poverty, in joy or in 
sorrow. No condition robs him of all his opportunities, 
while almost, if not quite, every one supplies opportunities 
peculiar to itself, and sjiiritual wisdom is capable of turning 
all to account. 

It is a happiness to be highly valued because of its asso- 
ciated pleasures. If, by being made a blessing, we reach the 
greatest enjoyment of our ovm life, we hereby come to live 
also in the hearts of others. How the name of Abraham 
has been reA'ei-ed by his posterity! His being made "a 
blessing" endears him to many generations. And when a 
Chnstian is made a blessing, what fervent love, what 
touching gi-atitude, is returned into his o^vn bosom ! So 
children learn to recompense the self-denying toils of parents, 
who thus come to live a second and sweeter life in the hearts 
of those to whom their first life has been devoted. No love 
is more fervent, no latitude is more touching, than that of 
those to whom we have been spiritually useful. It is an 
element of pure enjoyment in this world, and it will contri- 
bute not imperceptibly to the happiness of the world to 

These are some aspects of the believer's privileges upon 


whom "the blessing of Abraliam" comes: "Thou shalt be a 

Let us make an application of these thoughts, in the first 
place, to the past. AVherein we have lived as Christians, we 
may hope that this promise has been fulfilled to us, and ful- 
filled much beyond the scope of our actual knowledge. Yet 
in some degree, perhaps, we may be able to trace the fact. 
Instances may be known to us, and perhaps not a few, in 
which God has made us blessings. Our families, our social 
circles, our Sabbath school classes, our domestic visits, supply 
us with illustrations not to be overlooked. Let us praise 
God for them. He has given us a high prerogative. 

Let us make an application of these thoughts, in the 
second place, to the present. To be made a blessing is a 
Christian's privilege. Is it a privilege after which Ave, as 
Christians, are aspiring? Or are we content with being 
blessed, without expecting to be made a blessing 1 Ah ! my 
brethren, it is possible that we may have given too little 
attention to this branch of our privilege. Perhaps some of 
us have never even thought of it in the light in which it 
has now been set before us, or have even made it a part of 
our Chiistian aim and purpose. When did we cultivate a 
fei-vent desii'e to be useful 1 When did we endeavour to give 
such a desire any practical efiect 1 Whom have we endea- 
voiu-ed to convince of sin, and to bring to Jesus 1 Alas ! sad 
negligence, and sadder forfeiture of our highest privilege ! 

And what is our feeling, our purpose, now 1 Is a desire 
to be liseful stirred within us 1 Shall we be found devoutly 
examining our position in order to ascertain our opj^ortuni- 
ties, and making up our resolution to a prompt improvement 
of them 1 Come, let us arouse ourselves. It is long enough 
that we have slumbered. Through Jesus Christ "the 
blessing of Abraham" comes upon us. Let us not reject one 
half — in some sense, the better half — of our privilege. If 
we rejoice to be, like Abraham, blessed, let us aspire to be, 
like Abraham, " a blessing." 

Let us make an application of these thoughts, in the third 
place, to the futui-e. Neither portion of Abraham's blessing 
fully develops itself in the exj^erience of the believer now. 
Not yet does he entii'ely know how richly he is blessed; still 
less completely does he know how abundantly he is made a 
blessing. Much of this is concealed, or yet unaccomplished, 


but none of it is to fail, or to be finally bidden. Eveiy 
instance in wliicli God makes bis people a blessing is kuo^v^^ 
to bim, recorded on bigb, and eveiy one sliall at lengtb be 
known to us all. O, tbe strange, tbe glad, discoveries of tbe 
coming day! Tben only sball tbe fulness of Abrabam's 
blessing be made manifest; and tben may it be manifest, too, 
tbat upon us, tbrougb Jesus Clu-ist, tbe fulness of Abrabam's 
blessing bas come ! 


How blest, if thou, my God, become 

My portion, and my guide ; 
And lead me to thy heavenly home, 

Where every tear is dxied. 

More blest a blessing to be made — 

For so thy promise stood ; 
In joy and sorrow, light and shade, 

Like thee, a source of good. 

Fidfil this gracious word to me ! 

To it my heart aspires ; 
And, if in ways of mystery, 

'Tis all my heart desires. 



The question proposed for our consideration is in these 
words — What constitutes a truly happy life? 

A question, I take it for granted, appealing to you all to- 
night, not only for a kind, but for an interested, attention. 
Certainly no question can be either more natural, or more 
important ; and that for several reasons. 

I say this question is natural and important, in the first 
place, because of the capacity which we have for happiness. 
That capacity requires to be provided for, like any other. 

And, in the second place, it is so because we have our 
happiness to seek. We have a capacity for happiness in 
common with all sentient beings; the birds of the air, the 
beasts of the field, the fishes of the sea, have in their measure 
a capacity for happiness, as well as ourselves; but in this we 
differ from them, that then* happiness comes to them — we 
must go after ours. The happiness that is suited to their 
faculties and capacities God gives them without their seeking 
it; God has so made zis that, if we attain happiness, we must 
exercise oiu' understanding and our active powers in search 
of it. And therefore I say it is a very just and a very impor- 
tant inquiry for us who have such a life to live; what will 
render it happy? 

It is natural and important, in the third place, because 
without gi-eat care we are very likely to miss of ha])piness. 
It is by no means certain that we shall find the road to it. 
Our impulses may lead us in one or in another direction ; we 
may discern various attractions, and hear various persuasives 
from various quarters; but it is not at all certain that any 

* A Lecture delivereil at Albion Chapel, London, on Tuesdav eveninsr, 
December fith, 1840. 


one of these will lead us to what is tnily happy. They may 
be deceitful guides; they may be treacherovis persuaders. 
And, if we do not exercise our understanding and common 
sense in fair, and honest, and searching, inqmry what will 
really make us happy, there are a hundred probabilities — I 
may say, there are a thousand probabilities — there is almost 
a certainty — that we shall fail of attaining it. 

And, in the fourth place, if we do fail of attaining happi- 
ness the consequences cannot but be very serious. To live is 
itself a serious matter. There is in the life of every one of 
us a veiy seriovis expenditiu-e ; an expenditure of the energies 
of our own bodies and minds. Our thoughts, our feelings, 
our active powers, are S2)ent in the coui'se of life; and these 
are all of them far moi-e precious than gold. The expendi- 
ture of the faculties and energies of the life of a hiunan 
being, is greater than can be counted in any treasure beside 
that is known to man; and to spend all this — so much feel- 
ing, so much action, so much energy — and not to gain 
happiness by it, is itself a most lamentable waste of life, a 
species of prodigality that cannot be too much deplored. 
Life spent cannot be recalled. If spent once in vain, it is 
spent altogether in vain. And, if we fail in life of being 
happy, there are a thousand probabilities that we become 
misex'able. A man not happy may be said, in tnith, to be 
necessarily miserable; for, with the appetite for and cravings 
after happiness, and the capacities for happiness, chaa^acter- 
istic of us, such capacities, and appetites, and cravings, 
cannot be unsatisfied withoiit wretchedness being the result. 
Inasmuch as there must be wi'etchedness resiilting from 
the appetite of hunger unsatisfied, or the appetite of thirst 
unsatisfied, so an unsatisfied appetite for happiuess must of 
necessity occasion misery. But that is not all. If our 
energies and active powers are not employed successfully in 
the pui*suit of happiness, there are infallible and miiltiplied 
sources of misery. Indeed, it may be certainly aflirmed that, 
if we do not attain true pleasures, we shall plunge ourselves 
into many sorrows. There is no such thing as a neutral life, 
a life neither happy nor miserable; but he that would 
secure himself against spending a life in the laborious ac- 
complishment of his own wretchedness, must see to it that 
he finds, and pursues, the way whereby he may become 
truly happy. 


In point of fact, it is an element of the most ordinary, 
the most obvious, the most incUspensable, wisdom, that every 
human being should pause, and ponder, and ask himsell, 
What will make me happy % If there be any one tliat yields 
himself heedlessly to the passions of his nature, if there iDe 
any one that gives himself up to the attractive scenes and 
persuasive voices that he may hear and behold around him 
on every side, without ever asking, Which of these can make 
me happy? that man is a fool, unworthy of the very name 
of man. He perpetrates suicide, he dies by his own hand, 
and gives himself up to influences that wiU issue in misery 
and destruction. If there be any common sense m man it 
should lead him to pause as he enters into life, to ponder 
weU the situation in which he is placed and the circumstances 
he sees around Mm, and to do nothing that shall involve the 
character of his condition, until he can find what he may do 
with a probabUity, with a certainty, of becoming truly happy. 
Now the question before us being thus both natural and 
important, appealing for an interested and a serious con- 
sideration to the mind of every rational being, we take it 
up: What constitutes a truly happy life? 

I It may be proper, in the fii'st place, to take it up (tech- 
nically speaking) negatively : that is to say, to make this 
observation— that our happiness does not consist m tne 
absence of all causes and sources of suffering. 

It might seem, upon a cursory observation of the state ot 
men, th^t they are made miserable by theii- sorrows. A very 
great many sources of sorrow and suffering to men there are, 
both external and intei-nal, both caused by others and origi- 
nating with themselves; and one might be ready to say— it 
you could but remove men from these various causes ot 
sorrow, if you could but diy up theii- tears, then as a matter 
of course, and of direct necessity, they would be happy. 
Now we cannot admit this principle. Even if we could dry 
up all the tears of men, and get rid of the sources of sorrow 
still we should have to take up the question anew— What 
will produce happiness? . i-i i 

But yet there is something in the observation which has 
been made which deserves our attention before we proceed. 
Of course, all suffering is so far adverse and contrary to 
happiness; but, nevertheless, there are many sources of sut- 
fering by which happiness may not be wholly destroyed, 


or even be materially interfered with. In truth, suffering 
and hapinness are not properly antithetic terms. Sufferiny 
and enjoyment may be said to be antithetic terms: but enjoy- 
ment is not necessarily hajopiness, nor is happiness necessarily 
inconsistent with some kinds of suffering. There are some 
kinds of suffering — say, for example, pain, and weakness, 
and so forth, resulting from disease — which, although they re- 
duce enjoyment for the time, may nevertheless not be destruc- 
tive of happiness; that is to say, there may be happiness in 
spite of them — haj)piness rising above them. A great deal 
of physical suffering of many kinds may be endured without 
destroying happiness possessed, as arising from different 
(juarters and sources. Nay, there are some kinds of suffering 
which oftentimes minister to happiness, both by the pouring 
in (in connexion with them) of a joy springing from heavenly 
sources, and by calling into exercise some of the noblest 
affections of the heart. On this principle I suppose it is 
that niart}Ts at the stake have been happy; ay, and happier 
at the stake than amidst scenes of previous tranquillity and 

But, while we make this observation, we have to say, 
also, that there are some soiirces of suffering the exist- 
ence of which is entirely incompatible with happiness. 
There are two elements of suffering which are, also, abso- 
lute elements of misery — which are inseparable from misery; 
and without the removal of them from our being the notion 
of possessing happiness is utterly preposterous and vain. 

In the first place, no man can be happy with an 
accusing conscience. We stand as before our own presence 
to be judged ; God has so implanted conscience within 
us — the capacity of moral judgment, perpetually in exer- 
cise upon our own conduct as well as upon the conduct 
of others — with a voice speaking such consciovis truth, and 
speaking so loud, and with so much of the dignity of God 
on whose behalf it speaks — that there is no possibility of 
man being happy apart from conscious rectitude, apart from 
a peaceful and approving conscience. I know there may be- 
many cases in which conscience is very much seared and 
stupefied, and very feebly does its duty ; but I am entitled 
to speak now of conscience as well informed and fully en- 
lightened — of conscience as pronouncing with decision, with 
loudness, and with power. And we all know what cases. 


liave arisen in the history of mankind, and Jiow many those 
cases have been, in which it has been demonstrated that con- 
science has a power utterly destructive of human happiness 
by its own rebukes alone; so that men — ay, and men of no 
mean grade, too — have absolutely wished themselves to be 
the very dogs of the streets, that they might escape from 
this accusing and condemning judge. Men, by the power of 
conscience, have been pushed sometimes to the fearful alter- 
native of rushing into eternity unfit — even committing 
suicide, and plunging into greater sorrow in the des])erate 
resolve to escape from the less. Now, while there is this 
power — a power which we carry about us, whose voice we 
cannot silence, from whose rebukes and presence we cannot 
for one moment escape — it matters not what else we have; 
if we have an accusing conscience we cannot have happiness. 
Neither wealth nor pleasure, neither ambition, nor mirth, 
nor gain, noi- prosperity of any kind, can compensate for this 
one element of misery ; and, unless a man will first of all be 
at peace with himself, the very notion of being happy is 
altogether preposterous. 

Aud, in the second place, no man can be happy with 
an angiy God. There is a vital and essential relation be- 
tween the approbation and friendship of God aud the hajopi- 
ness of every man. Men may forget God — men do very 
commonly forget God, but God does not forget them: and 
when God shall be pleased to open upon the soul of any man 
a sense of his disapprobation and displeasure, he will do that 
which shall bid defiance to that man to be happy. The sense 
of God's wrath upon the heart is like the scorching sun upon 
tlie green herb; it withers all the freshness of pleasure and 
enjoyment away. The stroke of God's anger is like the 
flashes of the lightning, or the voice of the thunder. There 
are indications of wrath in it fearful and destructive; and he 
that hath the sense upon his soul of an angry God may bid 
adieu to all that he can call happiness, or j^eace. It is the 
great, all-absorbing, element of misery; annihilating, as it 
wei-e, aU things beside. 

Now, therefore, let ever}?^ one who would be haj^py see that 
lie rids himself of these two sources of misery. This is a 
preliminary step. We have this to settle before we can 
fairly, and uj)on clear grounds, even take up the question, 
What constitutes a truly lia])})y life? The removal of these 


two causes of essential, incurable, wretchedness is a neces- 
sary preliminary step to the acquisition of any happiness. 

II. We come, then, to take up the subject positively, and 
the question, What constitutes a truly happy life? I may 
suppose that a man is standing before you, from whom there 
are removed these two elements of misery — who hath peace 
of conscience, and peace, not only with himself, but also with 
God; what will make him happy? 

Now happiness, looking at the expression in its widest 
sense, is a term that has relation to all sentient beings — or 
all beings that feel. Everything that feels may, according 
to its nature and capacity, its instincts and habits, be happy 
or miserable — the subject of pleasure or pain. And, view- 
ing the term in this general light, as having a relation to all 
sentient beings, happiness is simply this — A state congruous 
with the faculties and capacities of the being that may be 
under consideration. 

If you apply this idea to the inferior creatures, the bi'ute 
creation from the highest down to the very lowest, their 
happiness lies in being in a state congruous with their facul- 
ties, and instincts, and appetites. This is all the happiness of 
which they are capable. It is happiness to them. And the 
contrary of this would be to them a source of suffering, or 
of unhappiness. And this same general idea is to be taken up 
as applicable to ourselves. Happiness is, to us, a state con- 
gruous with our faculties and capacities. 

We have, then, to make inquiry what are the faculties 
and capacities of man '? 

Some faculties and capacities we have in common with the 
brute creation. The appetites of hunger and of thii'st, the 
impulses and powers of locomotion, and various physical 
impulses, we have in common vv-ith the inferior creatures. 
But we have also faculties and cajiacities not in. common with 
them; which make us a very distinct class, and raise us far 
above them. Their faculties and capacities are all adapted 
either to the protection of the individual, or to the propaga- 
tion of the species ; we, beyond these faculties and capacities, 
have the faculties of voluntary thought, and feeling, and 
action, the exercise of the affections, and of activity for the 
promotion and accomplishment of objects which are alto- 
gether removed from them. Our happiness, therefore, lies 
in being in a state congruous with these our principal, most 
prominent, most powerful, faculties and capabilities. 


Now these may be resolved into two; we ha^e faculties of 
afFection, and of action. We can love, and we can laboui'. 
These capacities and faculties are with ns by far the most 
exalted and powerful that we have ; they very far take pre- 
cedence of all that relates to any other parts, or aspects, or 
functions, of our being; and, in order to be happy, there- 
fore, we must be in a state of well-directed affection, and 
of well-directed action. 

I. To take up first this idea of well-directed affection. It 
is very easy to see that ill -directed affection must be a source 
of disappointment, and of misery. Love misplaced makes a 
wi-etched heai-t. And that our affections, thei'efore, in their 
strong and supreme. exercise, should be directed to svii table 
and worthy objects is evidently a necessary element of our 
tiiie happiness. 

Let it be remarked, then, what the properties of the object 
should be to which the affection, or supreme love, of man can 
be worthily and happily directed. I will name but two, 

( I ). In the first place, if our love be well dii'ected, it must 
be directed to objects that will requite it. Love is bestowed; 
but it asks a return. Unrequited love is always love disap- 
pointed. If we say to an object, " I love you" — it is in the 
hope of hearing the reply, "And I also return your love." 
There is a craving of the heart after this, and nothing less 
can satisfy it. 

Now it is manifest from this consideration how very wide 
of the mark of yielding any tinie happiness is the love exer- 
cised by many; for the love of many is directed to objects 
that cannot requite it. For example : men who love money, 
who set theu' siipreme affection upon wealth in any of its 
various forms, upon being men of substance and acquiring 
large possessions. What an absurd passion is this ! Why, 
money — money in its various forms — what is it? It is 
represented, either by a few pieces of glittering metal, or by 
a few pieces of paper written upon wdth a few letters, or by 
a few pieces of parchment with a seal or two upon a piece of 
red tape, or by a few acres of gi-een fields, or a few himdreds 
or a few thousands of trees, or by a few heaps of bricks and 
mortar in the shape of mansions; and what things are these 
to love ! To love? why, there is not one of them that can 
look you in the face; there is not one of them that can give 
you a smile; there is not one of them that can return your 


afiection. You are loving inanimate things tliat have no 
emotions. You might as Avell be embracing a corpse — bind- 
ing a chill, dead body to your bosom. To love such things 
as these, is to torture and to crucify all the best and strongest 
affections of the heart. 

I acknowledge, indeed, very cheerfully, that a man makes 
a much wiser choice than this for the supreme setting of his 
aifections, who yields his heart to the love of his fellow- 
creatures. There is something — something that goes to 
requite the aifection that we bestow — when the love that 
glistens in our eye engages a smile for the recompense of it, 
and the pulsations of our own heart come to kindle pulsa- 
tions in the heart of another of equal warmth. To love and 
to be loved hath in it the essence and the principle of happi- 
ness. So far there is wisdom. But then, after all, what 
object is there Avhich can fully lequite our sujireme love 1 
Subordinately, the delights of friendship and sincere affection, 
as in relation to earthly objects, are to be spoken of with the 
very higliest commendation; but, if we come to set our 
supreme affection, our idolizing affection, upon earthly ob- 
jects of love, we find at once that they are insufficient to 
recompense the amount of affection that we pay. They want 
resources; they want fubiess. There is a weakness — empti- 
ness — feebleness — about all earthly objects of love, which 
makes them poor in comparison of the recompense that we 
need and desire for our supreme affection. For there is 
something in the goings forth of our love which is of the 
character of weakness — of the nature of emptiness — of 
poverty; we feel ourselves wanting, deficient in something 
which we seek to supply by engaging, in return for our own 
affection, the love of the object towards which we look. We 
want something to lean upon, to support us, to console us, 
to protect us; some addition to ourselves, to make up and 
compensate for our own weakness and insufficiency. And, 
when we go to lay the weight of this weakness and depend- 
ence upon a fellow-creature, we feel that we have laid the 
stress iipon a foundation that does not sustain us. Our 
fellow-creatures are weak and feeble as ourselves. They lean 
upon us, we lean upon them; and how often we feel that 
both are feeble, and that neither the one nor the other can 
render the support and consolation which a feeble, and 
aching, and wearied, heart demands ! There is no repose for 


the lieavt, l)ut in a being that hath at command all-sufficient, 
all-powerful, resources. We in our weakness want to cleave 
to that which is strong; in our emptiness we want access to 
that which is full ; in our liabilitj- to sorrow we want access 
to a fountain of joy. In truth, there is no creature that con- 
tains what we do want ; and, for idolizing aftection to be 
fixed upon any creature is but leaning on a feeble stall', 
which breaks in our grasp, and pierces, first our hand, and 
then our very heart too. 

The truth is, that the heart of man wants access to God. 
There is the strength, the fulness, the fountain of consolation, 
upon which we can lean; and it is in loving him and being 
loved by him — in the supreme atiection set upon God him- 
self, the all-glorious, the all-sufficient, the all-bountiful — it is 
in that affi3Ction alone that the heart of man can rest. Thei'e 
is no recompense for man's love but in God's love; notliing 
that can fill man's heart but the friendship of his Maker. 

(2). And, as I have said, in the first place, that the object 
to which our afiection must be directed, if well-directed, 
must be one that will requite it, so I say now, in the second 
place, that it must be one of a permanent and durable kind. 
The heart of man cannot change its love. There are, indeed, 
slender aftections, which are in their course like the butterfly, 
flitting from thing to thing, attracted first by one beauty and 
then by another; but we do not dignify these by the name 
of love. These are fancies. Man's best love cannot change 
its object. Where the heart is fixed it remains. It is for 
no novelty. And, in cases in which it is bereaved of its best 
beloved object, instead of going forth to kindle itself upon a 
successor, it is the language of the desolate heart — " The 
world now contains nothing for me." 

Ah ! on such a principle, what a dreadful thing it is to 
love mortal friends! — friends that turn pale and die while 
we look upon them! — friends that are dear to our hearts, 
indeed, and we to them, but upon whose pale faces we have 
to look on the bed of death, and to follow them in mute sad- 
ness to the grave ! To love such objects as these — to fix a 
strong and supreme afiection upon things that die, that are 
not sui*e to be in our embrace for an hour — to set our 
greatest affection upon things that are falling into the grave 
— oh ! it is a dreadful mistake. And many a lacerated heart 
testifies to it; and many a mourner, as they "go about the 


streets," oi* sit solitary in habitations wliere once conjugal 
and domestic love shone upon the scene, can say — " I idolized 
the world; I made an idol of my husband, my wife, my 
children, my friends: the Avorld is like a world without a 
Deity to me now — dark and blank — and I am hopeless and 

Ah ! there is no wisdom in setting the supreme aifection 
anywhere but upon a permanent object. If you can find a 
friend that will live throughout your life, only ending his 
being then, and in his excellences and qualifications un- 
changeable — love him. " Yea, I say unto you," Love him. 
There is but one such friend. And that is — your Maker. 

2. To turn, then, to the second j^articidar; and to speak 
of well-directed activity. This also, I have said, is a neces- 
sary element of hapjiiness. 

It is well known that our impulses of activity are strong 
and instinctive. We cannot help it. Made for contempla- 
tion, in part, we are ; but not for contemplation wholly. No 
hermit ever was happy; no man ever can be happy as a 
hermit. We are made for activity. We must be, and shall 
be, always doing something, either right or wi-ong, either 
good or evil. And the proper direction, therefore, of ovir 
active powers comes into consideration as an element of hap- 

Now there are two qualities that must be found in all 
objects to which our active powers shall be directed, if they 
are well directed. 

(i). In the first place, our activity must be directed to the 
accomplishment of valuable results. He never can be a 
happy man who is always busy upon trifles. He that will 
be labouring to accomplish nothing, or nothing that is of 
value corresponding with his labour, must always be a man 
unsatis6ed. The accomplishment of some good, useful, de- 
lightful, and valuable end — this it is that sweetens toil, and 
makes one feel recompensed for having undergone it. 

Now we may say here, how extremely unsatisfactory and 
remote from happiness are, in point of fact, many of the 
pursuits of men ! How many, for example, are under the 
necessity of labouring all their days for the mere providing 
for their bodily wants, or those of their family ! How many 
have to toil from morning to night, and from the beginning 
of the week to the end of it — perhaps, from early morning 


till late at night, abridging both ends of the night by the 
light of the lamp — that the few shillings needfvil may be 
obtained for the things necessary for the body; and can do 
nothing else all their life but just " live from hand to 
mouth," making two hands work for one mouth, and thank- 
ful if, with much toil, they can keep the mouth full. Some 
in miich ])overty, others with more considerable supply, but 
yet labouring all their lives are an immense number of per- 
sons for just ]iroviding the things needful for the body. I 
am not sayiug that this is wi'ong; but what I am saying is, 
that it is a most unsatisfactory way of spending life in refer- 
ence to happiness. Here is no great and valuable end accom- 
plished ; but, in fact, one of the least valuable and most 
common ends. This is jvist doing by great labour what the 
beasts of the field do without any labour at all ; they eat, and 
they drink, and are novirished, and go through their life 
without woi'king; and for us to have to work hard all our 
life long for that which the beasts of the field obtain without 
any labour at all, is enoi;gh to make one's heart ache, and 
bring one to say in disgust, " Wherefore hast thou, made all 
men in vain'?" One wants something assuredly far higher 
than this, to which the active energies of life may be 

There are, certainly, some persons privileged to accomplish 
higher ends than these ; persons who, instead of thus labour- 
ing for theii- living, are released from that necessity by a 
kind Providence, and have oppoi-tunities for devoting their 
strength and activity to other ends — scientific ends — humane, 
patriotic, benevolent ends — or some of the many interesting 
and important objects presented to the activity of men. 
These have so far a happier life than those to whom it is not 
permitted to engage in such pursuits. But, after all, there 
is nothing in these objects — patriotic, benevolent, scientific — 
large enough to satisfy the cravings of man's heart. There 
are aspirings and longings to do, there are capabilities in man's 
heart of doing, ^something beyond all this. How very little, 
for example, any one man feels that he can do for the benefit 
or improvement of the world! Here we find oiu'selves in 
the midst of a world presenting thousands of necessities; 
hospitals, schools, a thousand institutions of good, are wanted 
all around us; over large portions of the world a state of 
barbarism prevails, the oppression of slavery continues, 


and everywhere tliroiigli the wliole earth there are opportu- 
nities for benevolent enterprise ; and yet let any one see 
what through a whole life he can do for removing the 
miseries of men ! He is, as it were, a grain of sand upon the 
seashore — nothing in his individual capacity towards staying 
the inroads of the ocean. There is, therefore, in all these 
things a littleness, an unsatisfactoriness, to the mind of man 
devoted to them. There is something wanting to constitute 
an object really worth living for ; and one that shall not 
be confined to the privileged few, but can be taken up by all 
men, by the poor as well as the rich, by the man that works 
for his bread sixteen hours out of the twenty-four as well as 
by the nobleman at his ease. We want something that shall 
be presented to tnan as man, and shall be presented to him as 
a great and noble object to be pursued with his loftiest powers. 

There is no object that possesses these qualities but the 
service and glory of God. He that will glorify God will 
pursue a great and noble object indeed. He will do that 
which God himself has undertaken for his own work. He 
will do that which the Son of God took for the great object 
of his life. He will do that which saints and angels in 
heaven do. They all glorify God. And an object of gi-eater 
value and more paramount excellence cannot be embi-aced 
by man. This is an object for peers and ministers of state, 
for men of science and benevolence, to grasp at; and more 
than that — this is an object for the poor, the wretched, the 
distressed, the degraded, the overworked, everywhere, to 
grasp at. There is not a man so poor but he may aim to 
glorify God. It is only a question of purpose; and there is 
not one so poor, there is not one so distressed, that he may 
not grasp this object, and in his measure pursue it — an object 
identical with that of God himself 

(2). In the second place, activity, to be well directed, 
must be directed to an object yielding happiness in its 
pursuit. It is true, indeed, that the accomplishment of a 
valuable object may make amends for an unhappy course 
pursued in attaining it; but, nevertheless, happiness is evi- 
dently far more complete, if, while we are pursuing an im- 
portant and valuable object, the pursuit of the object itself 
calls forth affections of a noble and delightful kind. 

In this respect a great many objects of earthly piirsuit 
altogether foil. For example, observe the miser, who lives 


in greedy pursuit of wealth ; what a contracted, selfish, mise- 
rable temper and habit of mind the very pursuit of wealth 
cherishes ! If wealth wei^e worth a thousand times what it 
is, the wretchedness and misery endured in the pursuit of it 
would still deserve to be reckoned intolerable. So, look at 
the sensualist— the man that goes after sensual delights; 
think of the wretched and miserable affections he keeps alive 
and nourishes : or at him who seeks pleasure in the indulgence 
of eating and drinking — drinking especially; how much 
suffering and wretchedness is occasioned by his pursuit ! It 
is so with all the variety of earthly pursuits. Infei'ior pas- 
sions are awakened in the occupation. 

But if any man will pursue the gioiy of God, he shall not 
only pui-sue an object of the greatest value, but shall awaken 
in his heart affections of the highest felicity. O ! the recti- 
tude within — ! the tranquillity and peace of conscience — 
O ! the internal approbation, the self-satisfaction — of the 
man who can say, " My heart is for God, my life is for God ! 
Whether I eat or drink, or whatsoever I do, I do all to the 
glory of God !" ! the generous love — O ! the crucifixion 
of selfishness — O ! the going out of self, the absorption of 
self in the glory, and excellency, and interest, and honoui', 
of another — the di'inking into God's own spirit — the identity 
of heart with hrinself — the partaking of his own felicity! 
Generous, holy, noble, exalted, feelings thrown into the very 
midst of life's ordinary affairs; attaching a celestial character 
even to the drudgery of earth; giving a sacred, spiritual, 
ennobling, influence to all that is done, even of the meanest 
kind; enabling the ploughman at the plough tail to live like 
an angel — or the artisan at the loom, or the maidservant in 
her work (it matters not who, it matters not where), to live 
like an angel, and to be cultivating in this world all those 
noble afiections that make heaven so beautiful, and so 
blessed ! 

Hei-e, then, is the sum of the whole matter; that well- 
directed affection and well-directed acti\dty are the main, 
essential, complete, elements of human happiness. There 
is no happiness without them; there can be no miseiy 
with them — the two elements of miseiy, an accusing con- 
science and an angry God, being first removed out of the 

And now, to bring this discourse to a conclusion, let me 



ask you, dear friends, in the first place, what course it is that 
you Avho now hear me have been pursuing. You are capable 
of happiness. You have happiness to acquire; it wUl not 
come unless you seek it. You are in the midst of a thousand 
elements of delusion, and are called upon by the strongest 
motives to think and to choose aright. Tell me what course 
have you hitherto been pursuing 1 Have you a conviction 
that the object you have before you as a worthy object of 
pursuit is really so 1 Does your judgment approve it ? Are 
you satisfied that it deserves your supreme aftection, and your 
best energies ? Or are there not some of you who have been 
seeking happiness in other ways— in any other way than 
this 1 Some of you, perhaps, seeking happiness in the indul- 
gence of your passions and appetites; others of you, it may 
be, seeking it you hardly know how— sayiug, "Who will 
show us any good?" and trying first one and then another 
source of enjoyment, heedlessly running on without wisdom, 
and without success? Now are you not weary of this vain 
pursuit 1 Will you go on squandering away a precious life, a 
noble heart, and generous faculties, as though they were 
nothing, in the thought of being happy— but in the conscious- 
ness of being miserable ? Say, if you have sought happiness 
in any lower source than that to which I have pointed, 
whether you have found it. In intemperance 1 have you not 
been told, " It is not in me"? In sensuality? did it not say, 
" It is not in me"? In covetousness ? hath it not said, " It 
is not in me"? In ambition? said it not, "It is not in 
me"? And all the flatterers that wooed and won you on m 
paths of earth-born pursuits, one by one they have fallen 
away and deserted you, and left you in bitter mockery to 
sain vour experience of wisdom, and your reality of sadness. 
Oh ' "is it experience of wisdom that you gam ? And seeing 
where happiness truly is, do you say, "This shall be my 
c^ood; happiness is here, and I embrace it"? 
* O ! if you do, thank God for the Gospel which presents 
it. I have read no passage of Scripture to-night; I took no 
text for my discourse; I have not quoted a text as any man- 
ner of proof, or authority for anything that I have stated. I 
have spoken, indeed, with that glorious light which the 
blessed book of God throws upon all subjects of morals and 
sound reasoning, but I have spoken simply to common sense; 
I have spoken as to infidels, to men who acknowledge not 


the Bible, and I have made my appeal to nothing but com- 
mon sense : I call upon every man for nothing more in this 
matter, than to be guided in it by the same common sense 
and plain understanding which guide him with success in 
the ordmary affairs of life. But O ! if you see that this is 
happiness and will embrace it, thank God for the Gospel 
which puts it within your readi. I told you of the rebukes 
of a guilty conscience: thank God for the precious blood of 
Christ, which " cleanseth from all sin;" thank God that you 
hear the invitation — "Come, now, and let us reason together, 
saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be 
as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they 
shall be as wool," I told you of the necessity of havino' 
peace with God : thank God for the Gospel, which bids you 
"acquaint yourselves with him and be at peace," since he 
" so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that 
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever- 
lasting life." O unbeliever ! O infidel ! O sceptical man ! 
O boaster of philosophy ! come, love the Bible; come, prize 
tlie Gospel. It speaks to your inmost mind — it provides 
for your deepest wants — and it is the only method in which 
you can find security for present, or for future, joy. 

I will only say, in conclusion, that as many of us, dear 
brethren, as know the excellency and power of the Gospel 
should learn to remember wherein tlie real happiness even of 

religion consists. It is a blessedness— I will not deny it to 

liave sin forgiven, the wrath of God removed, and" con- 
science at peace; it is a blessedness, but it is not all the 
blessedness we want. We cannot live as in a hermitao'e in 
a state of mere peace with God and enjoyment of a tranquil 
conscience. The true happmess of a Christian lies in well- 
directed affections and well-directed activity. Let your 
supreme love be fixed upon God, your Father— your su- 
preme dedication be to his service and his praise. Otherwise 
you will lose your happiness still; lose it as tiiily as the 
worldling loses it. If you, in j^our state of spiiitual peace 
and safety, indulge a spirit of worldly love and Avorldly pur- 
suit, you throw away the very jewel that God has given you. 
And, if it be madness for a worldling to throw it away, it is 
more utter madness for yott to throw it away, into whose 
possession it has been so graciously i)ut, and who have the 
utmost facilities for knowing the infinite amount of its excel- 


lency. Let " your aflfections be set on things above," Chris- 
tian; "not on things on the earth." Of all objects pursue 
the glory of God as the fii'st. Do not yourself renounce 
that only happiness — the living to his pi'aise. "Whether 
you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things to 
his glory." 


Is the Bible tnie ? Or, rather, is the Bible what it pro- 
fesses to be — truly the word of God? 

This, if I understand it aright, is the main question that 
we have before lis. And, certainly, a question of greater 
importance cannot be entertained. If the Bible be not 
what it professes to be, let every Chi'istian, and eveiy Chris- 
tian minister, combine with all other people of common sense 
to despise it, and trample it under foot; if it be a fallacy, 
class it with other fallacies and forgeries by which the world 
has been beguiled for a while, but which, as childi-en their 
toys, successive generations have outgrown. But, if the 
Bible be tnie, if it truly be what it professes to be — the 
word of God, treatment the very opposite of neglect and 
contempt is demanded for it from the hands of every lutional 
man, be he saint or sinner, Chiistian or sceptic. A veiy 
solemn book it is, if it be a time one; a very persuasive, a 
very influential one. It reveals a world to us of glorious and 
awfol realities, well fitted by their magnitude and their 
lustre to throw all the world we know besides into the 

It is as a branch of this general question. Is the Bible 
true, or traly what it professes to be ? — that we have before 
us more specifically this inquiiy, Is any evidence of the 
truth of the Bible furnished by its predictions of future 
events 1 You have had several discoiu-ses upon prophecy — 
Scripture prophecy; one opening the general probability and 
design of prophetic declarations, and others tracing successive 
portions and aspects of the prophecies of Holy Writ : upon 

* A Lecture delivered at Bishopsgate Chapel, London, on Tuesday 
evening, December 7th, 1841. 


this principle, that a book which contains passages pretending 
to a prophetic character — to foretel future events — contains 
passages of a very critical character, very apt indeed to put 
its pretensions to the test. People may say a great many 
things without any chance of being detected if they be 
false; but, if people undertake to foretel future events, the 
time will be sure to come that will prove them either false 
or true. So with this book, which contains many poi-tions 
pretending to a prophetic character. It would have been 
the most hazardous thing in the world to have put these 
portions into it, if either they themselves had been false, or 
the book in which they are foimd, and of which they are an 
essential constituent, had been a forgery. It would have 
been like a man concocting a fraud, and putting into his 
plan elements which would secure his own detection. Some 
men are such fools, but not many; least of all guilty of such 
folly can we deem the Creator. If, then, it be found that 
the prophetical parts of this volume, the predictions of 
future events, are verified completely, so extensively, so con- 
sistently, so minutely, as to carry evidence of the inspiration 
of those portions, then this carries evidence also of the 
inspired character of the men that uttered them — their 
authority from God to speak such things — and the divine 
origin of the entii'e book of which tliey are an essential 
constituent part. 

With this same general view — (indeed, I ought to apolo- 
gize, perhaps, for having in a few words recapitulated it) — 
with this same general view we look on the present occasion 
at the predictions of Moses concerning the Jews — a very 
interesting and very important people, with whom even yet 
the welfare of the world is marvellously bound up. Many 
])rophecies have had reference to them; you have already 
had noticed to you those of dying Jacob, those of Balaam, 
and others. 

Now Moses, of whose predictions we are at this time to 
speak, does not appear conspicuously in the character of a 
prophet. He was a iiiler; he had direct communication with 
God, from whom he received the entire framework of the 
national govei'nment and system of the Israelites; but he 
appears rather as a ruler than as a prophet, — rather as a 
communicator of laws framed and enacted by the Majesty 
of heaven and Kinjj of Israel, than as commissioned from 


liim to foretel future events. However, altliougli Moses 
does not appear primarily, or most conspicuously, as a pro- 
phet, there are portions of his writings and discourses 
recorded which are strictly of a prophetical character. 

We have one of these in the thirty-third chapter^ of 
Deuteronomy; which contains, as it is said, "the blessing 
wherewith Moses, the man of God, blessed the children of 
Israel before his death." In this respect Moses partook of 
that inspiration with which the patriarchs in successive 
generations were gifted shortly before their departure ; 
favoured with the melody of a heavenly prophetic strain, as 
it is fabled of the swan that in death she sings. So Jacob, 
so Joseph, and so Moses, w-ere inspired at the last to foretel 
that which should happen in later days. If you read 
through the chapter, you will find that, in a highly poetical 
strain, the future lot of the several tribes of Israel is 
depicted. Not that it is easy to trace this in every instance 
now; the chapter is in many points one little capable of 
explication ; but the general style of it may be gathered 
from some portions that are very distinct. Thus "of Ben- 
jamin he said. The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety 
by him, and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and 
he shall dwell between his shoulders." You know that 
Benjamin was a tender child, the child of his father's old 
age, much prized and much beloved; and the position of the 
tribe in the land of Israel corresponded with the position of 
Benjamin, the parent of the tribe, in the family of Jacob. 
*'The beloved of the Lord," as the beloved of his father, 
" shall dwell in safety by him" — a phra«e Avhich indicates 
the position of the tribe of Benjamin next to Judah, and in 
close contact with the city of Jerusalem. If you will look 
at any map of the twelve tribes, you will see the large tribe 
of Judah occupying the southern portion of the land of 
Judea, and immediately to the north of it the tribe of 
Benjamin, closely adjoining to the city and fortress of 
Jerusalem: "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety 
by him." So we have concerning Zebulun — "They shall 
suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in 
the sand :" a phrase justly denoting the maritime position of 
that tribe. Then of Naphtali — " Possess thou the west and 
the south." Now, although we cannot trace in relation to 
all the tribes a similar indication, yet there is no doubt that, 


in highly poetic and figui'ative language, the position, or 
popnlonsness, or fertility, or other characteristics of the 
several tribes, to be developed in futurity, are presented 
in this ode; and herein Moses, therefore, is acting fully the 
part of a prophet. 

There is, however, another portion — I was going to say of 
his wi'itings, but, probably, both of writing and discourse — 
which has more distinctly still the prophetic character, and 
upon wliich it is my design now more particularly to dwell. 
It occurs twice; once in the twenty-sixtli chapter of the 
book of Leviticus, and more copiously in the twenty-eighth 
and following chapters of the book of Dexiteronomy, the 
same idea in substance being repeated at a distance of about 
forty years. It will be necessary to draw a little upon your 
patience in reading it. 

Deuteronomy, Chap, xxviii. 

' ' 1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto 
the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his command- 
ments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will 
set thee on high above all nations of the earth : 

" 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, 
if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. 

"3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in 
the field. 

' ' 4 Blessed shaU be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy 
ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the 
flocks of thy sheep. 

" 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. 

' ' 6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt 
thou be when thou goest out. 

" 7 The Lord shall caiise thine enemies that rise up against thee to 
be smitten before thy face : they shall come out against thee one way, 
and flee before thee seven ways. 

"8 The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy store- 
houses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall 
bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 

' ' 9 The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as 
he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of 
the Lord thy God, and walk in his ways. 

' ' 10 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by 
the name of the Lord ; and they shall be afraid of thee. 

"11 And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit 
of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy 
ground, in the land which the Lord sware luito thy fathers to give 

"12 The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven 
to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work 


of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou 
shalt not borrow. 

" 13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail : and 
thoii shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that 
thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God which 1 
command thee this day, to observe and to do them : 

"14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I 
command thee this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after 
other gods to serve them. 

" 15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the 
voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all his conamandments 
and his statutes which I command thee this day, that all these curses 
shall come upon thee, and overtake thee : 

"16 Cursed shalt thou be iu the city, and cursed shalt thou be in 
the field. 

"17 Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. 

"18 Ciirsed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the friiit of thy 
land, the increase of thy kine, and the Hocks of thy sheep. 

"19 Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest iu, and cursed shalt 
thou be when thou goest out. 

"20 The Lord shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, 
in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be 
destroyed, and until thoii perish quickly ; because of the wickedness 
of thy doings, whereby thoii hast forsaken me. 

"21 The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he 
have consumed thee from off the land whither thou goest to possess 

"22 The Lord shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a 
fever, and with an intiaumiation, and with an extreme burning, and 
with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew: and they shall 
pursue thee until thou perish. 

" 23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the 
earth that is under thee shall be iron. 

"24 The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: 
from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. 

"25 The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: 
thou shalt go out one way against them, and tlee seven ways before 
them ; and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth. 

"26 And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and 
imto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall fray them away. 

"27 The Lord wiU smite thee with the botch of Egj^pt, and with 
the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou 
canst not be healed. 

"28 The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and 
astonishment of heart. 

"29 And thou shalt grope at noonday as the blind gropeth in 
darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways : and thou shalt be 
only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee. 

"30 Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with 
her : thou shalt build a house, and thou shalt not dwell therein : thou 
shalt plant a vineyard, and shalt not gather the grapes thereof. 
"31 Thine ox shall be slain before thine eyes, and thou shalt not 


eat thereof : thine ass shall be violentlj'' taken aAvay from before thy 
face, and shall not be restored to thee : thy sheep shall be given unto 
thine enemies, and thou shalt have none to rescue them. 

"32 Thy sons and thj'' daughters shall be given unto another 
people, and thine eyes sliall look, and fail with longing for them all 
the day long ; and there shall be no might in thine hand. 

".33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation 
which thou knowest not eat up ; and thou shalt be only oppressed and 
crushed alway : 

"34 So that thou shalt be mad for the sight of thine eyes which 
thou shalt see. 

"35 The Lord shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with 
a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the 
top of thy head. 

"36 The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set 
over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have 
known ; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. 

"37 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a provei'b, and a 
byword, among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. 

"38 Thou shalt carry miich seed out into the field, and shalt 
gather but little in ; for the locust shall consume it. 

"39 Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them; but shalt 
neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes: for the worms 
shall eat them. 

"40 Thou shalt have olive-trees throughout all thy coasts, but 
thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil : for thine olive shall cast 
his fruit. 

"41 Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not 
enjoy them: for they shall go into captivity. 

' ' 42 All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locusts consume. 

"43 The stranger that is within thee sliall get up above thee very 
high ; and thou shalt come down very low. 

"44 He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he 
shall be the head, and thou slialt be the tail. 

"45 Moreover, all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall 
pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou 
hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his 
commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee : 

' ' 46 And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and 
upon thy seed for ever. 

"47 Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfidness, 
and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things ; 

"48 Therefore shalt thou serve tliine enemies which the Lord 
shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, 
and in want of all things : and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy 
neck, until he have destro3^ed thee. 

"49 The Lord shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the 
end of the earth, as swift as the eagle fiieth ; a nation whose tongue 
thou shalt not understand ; 

"50 A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the 
person of the old, nor show favour to the young : 

"51 And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy 


land, until thou l)e destroyed : which also shall not leave thee either 
corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or Hocks of thy sheep, 
until he have destroyed thee. 

" 52 And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and 
fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy 
land : and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy 
land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee. 

"53 And thou shalt eat the fruit" of thine ow-n body, the ilesh of 
thy sons and of thy daughters, which the Lord thy God hath given 
thee, in the siege and in the straitness wherewith thine enemies shall 
distress thee : 

"54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, 
his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his 
bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave : 

"55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his 
children whom he shall eat : because he hath nothing left him in the 
siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress 
thee in all thy gates. 

"5G The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not 
adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness 
and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her 
bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, 

" 57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her 
feet, and tow^ard her children which she shall bear : for she shall eat 
them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, where- 
with thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates. 

"58 If thou wilt not observe to do alfthe words of this law that 
are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and 
fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD ; 

"59 Then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, and the 
plagues of thy seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and 
sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. 

"GO Moreover he will bring upon thee all the diseases of 'Egypt, 
which thou wast afraid of ; and they shall cleave unto thee. 

"61 Also every sickness, and every jilagae, which is not written in 
the book of this law, them will the Lord bring upon thee, until thou 
be destroyed. 

' ' G2 And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the 
stars of heaven for multitude ; because thou woiddest not obey tlie 
voice of the Lord thy God. 

"C3 And it shall come to pass, that, as the Lord rejoiced over you 
to do you good, and to multiply you ; so the Lord wdll rejoice over 
you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought : and ye shall be 
plucked from off the laud whither thou goest to possess it. 

"G4 And the Lord shall scatter thee among all people, from the 
one end of the earth even unto the other ; aud there thou shalt serve 
other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even 
wood and stone. 

" G5 And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither 
shall the sole of thy foot have rest; but the Lord shall give thee 
there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: 

"66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt 
fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: 


"67 In the morning tliou shalt say, Would God it were even ! and 
at even thou shalt say, WoiUd God it were morning ! for the fear of 
thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes 
which thou shalt see. 

"68 And the Lord shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships, 
by the way whereof I spake unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more 
again: and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen 
and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you. " 

Chap. xxix. 22-28. 

"22 So that tlie generation to come of your children that shall rise 
up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall 
say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which 
the Lord hath laid upon it ; 

"23 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and 
burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth 
therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and 
Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath : 

" 24 Even all nations shall say. Wherefore hath the Lord done thus 
unto this land ? what meaneth the heat of this great anger ? 

"25 Then men shall say, Because they have forsaken the covenant 
of the Lord God of their fathers, which he made with them when he 
brought them forth out of the land of Egy[)t : 

"26 For they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, 
gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them : 

"27 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, to 
bring upon it all the curses that are written in this book : 

"28 And the Lord rooted them out of their land in anger, and in 
•wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as 
it is this day." 

Chap. xxx. 1-8. 

" 1 And it shall come to pass, when aU these things are come upon 
thee, the blessing and the curse which I have set before thee, and 
thoii shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord 
thy God hath driven thee, 

"2 And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his 
voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy 
children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul : 

' ' 3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have 
compassion upon thee, and vnll return and gather thee from all the 
nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee. 

" 4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, 
from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will 
he fetch thee : 

"5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy 
fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it ; and he will do thee good, 
and multiply thee above thy fathers. 

"6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the 
heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God ynth all thine heart, and 
with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 


"7 And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine 
enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee. 

"8 And thou shalt retiuu and obey the voice of the Loi'd, and do 
all his commandments which I command thee this day." 

These passages comprehend what we understand by "the 
predictions of Moses concerning the Jews." 

But a query arises concerning them, in the first place, 
whether they can be fairly called predictions. You perceive 
they are hypothetical : if thou doest this, so and so shall 
happen — if thou doest the other, so and so shall happen. 
Here is not, certainly, an absolute px-ediction of events of 
either class. But, nevertheless, it must be taken to be as 
cleai-ly and distinctly a prediction as though it had been an 
absolute prediction. It might be said, perhaps, that it was 
natural for Moses, after having oi'ganized a form of govern- 
ment for the nation under divine authority, to say, when he 
was about to leave them, " Now, if you keep the habit of 
obedience to the laws, you shall prosj^er, and, if otherwise, 
you shall suffer adversity," inasmuch as he might calculate 
on the general course of society, the general tendency and 
tenor of his institutions, knowing them to be adapted to 
produce prosperity, if observed, and adversity, if not observed. 
But declarations of this sort upon the part of Moses would 
evidently have been much more safely general than specific. 
And if this passage contained generally a declaration on the 
part of Moses, "Now, observe these statutes and you "will 
prosper as a nation, neglect them and you will have calamity," 
one would lay no stress upon it ; it was natural that such a 
thing shoxild be said, and it might be a general calculation. 
But here is such a gi-eat variety of specific and minute details, 
that Moses could not at all, in the exercise of any common 
sense, have ventured upon such a thing. How much he fore- 
told, in case they were obedient, of specific prosperity of the 
seasons ! He might know that peace and harmony, and 
certain elements of national prosperity, would be secured by 
obedience ; but how could he tell that rain from heaven and 
beneficial seasons should be associated distinctly and con- 
stantly with obedience, and the want of them with the 
contrary? So, of veiy much respecting diseases also, and 
other detail. In one place he mentions the king — " The 
Lord shall bring thee and thy king which thou shalt set over 
thee" into captivity: why, the Israelites had no king, and it 


(lid not appear tliat they ever would have a king ; they were 
several hundreds of years without a king, and a king was no 
pai-t of their constitution or government, and God was angry 
when they asked one. It would liave been veiy hazardous to 
gness such a result as that, and to venture a prediction upon 
the subject. I might go into other details; but the whole 
passage is by far too particular and specific to need it. You 
catmot help recollecting that declaration concerning the 
people in the siege of Jerusalem eating their own children. 
The minuteness of detail sets at defiance all suppositions but 
this one, that Moses was liere, as an inspired person, fore- 
telling, conditionally upon the obedience or disobedience of 
the parties, the actual results of both. 

We give it, then, although a conditional prophecy, as still 
a prophecy; and as perfectly a prophecy, and as complete in 
its evidence and bearings, as though it were not conditional. 
It is to be regarded as a kind of anticipated history of the 
Jewish people ; and according as, in their course, we find 
them obedient or disobedient, so we are to expect to find it 
realized and fulfilled. 

And just so it is. It would be to recapitulate the whole 
history of the children of Israel, to furnish you in detail 
with, the evidence of the fulfilment of this prophecy. I hope 
you are all of you well enough accpiainted with the writings 
of the Old Testament, and the history of the Jews, to have 
felt as I went along how distinctly and literally the prophecy 
bad been fulfilled, the evidence being supplied by your own 
memoiy. What fertility, and what multiplication of the 
people, there was while they were obedient to God — that you 
remember ; how long famines and droughts were connected 
with their lapses from God — that you remeuiber too ; how 
the people that were around them, Philistines and others, 
had for years together the upper hand of them, and they 
were cruelly oppressed — that, also, you remember. The 
captivity in Babylon was distinctly foretold in the passage 
to which I liave already referred : " The Lord shall bring 
thee and thy king which thou shalt set over thee" into 
captivity. The descrijDtion given, too, tallies altogether with 
their condition dviring the captivity, both those that were 
gone into Babylon, and those that remained in their own 

And after that comes another very distinct and prominent 


prediction: "The Lord shall bring a nation against thee 
from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle 
flieth, a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand, a 
nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the 
person of the old, nor show favour to the young." All 
commentators are agreed, I believe, that this passage is a 
prophetic description of the Romans, by whom Judea was 
iiltimately invaded and subdued, and Jerusalem itself 
destroyed, "A nation of fierce countenance" — depicting 
the military ardour and frenzy of that warlike people : 
"from fer, from the end of the earth"— that is to say, from 
a much greater distance than the enemies to which tlicy had 
been iiccustomed, Italy and Rome being much farther from 
Jerusalem than Chaldea, or Egypt, or Assyria, whence then- 
other enemies had arisen: "as swift as the eagle flieth"— the 
eagle being a fit emblem of the Roman power, inasmuch as 
it^was the standard of the Roman army, and under the 
same emblem our Lord appears to have made mention of the 
Roman power in a memorable prediction before his death : 
"which shall not regard the person of the old, nor show 
fiivour to the young" — the reckless, barbarous, murderous 
course of tlie Roman army being here very fitly depicted. 
" And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high 
and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst:" you 
recollect that by the Roman army Jerusalem was ultimately 
besieged and taken. And the description here given of what 
should occur in the siege of the city by the Romans was, as 
we know from the history written by Josephus, fulfilled to the 
very letter; it wants only the tense to be altered, and instead 
of saying the thing shall he done, to say the thing was done, 
to turn this whole passage into literal history. The account 
we have here of that which should be, that among brethren 
and families there should be an evil eye one towards another, 
cpiarrelling for victuals, and not giving to one another, but 
taking away one from another — was all literally fulfilled in 
the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman army, so great was the 
distress ; and the account is handed down to us even of "the 
tender and delicate woman" eating the flesh of her own 
child, and hiding part of it that she might have a meal on 
the next day. 

The following parts of the prediction correspond altogether 
and perfectly with the state of the Jewish people, for many 


hundreds of years after tlieir dispersion ui50u tlie destruction 
of Jerusalem. What is here stated concerning their op- 
pressed, and scattered, and cruelly-tortured state, "their life 
hanging in doubt," and so on, is but the very substance of 
the history of the Jewish people. In Rome, and in various 
parts of the Roman empire, they were exposed to false 
accusatioiis continually, and often to hatred so determined as 
to provoke indiscriminate massacre, in the course of which, 
in a few years, millions of them were destroyed. 

Here is a very singular intimation, also, in the last verse 
of the twenty-eighth chapter: "The Lord shall bring thee 
into Egyi^t again, with ships, by the way whei'eof I spake 
unto thee, Thou shalt see it no more again : and there ye 
shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, 
and no man shall buy you." Now the fact is that, after the 
destruction of Jerusalem, the Romans, to get rid of the 
Jews from Rome, sent them in ships by whole multitudes to 
Egypt, to be sold for slaves ; and there was such a glut in 
the market of Jewish people to be sold for slaves that no 
man would buy them. For any man to have hit vipon a 
thing of that sort by conjecture, or to have ventured upon 
such a prophecy at a guess — either of the two things is 

Equally striking is a passage which I read from the 
twenty -ninth chapter : " The generation to come of your 
children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that 
shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the 
plagues of that land, and the sicknesses which the Lord hath 
laid iipon it, and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, 
and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor 
any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and 
Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew 
in his anger and in his wi'ath : even all nations shall say, 
Wherefore hath the Lord done thus unto this land 1 what 
meaneth the heat of this great anger?" Why, " the stranger 
from a far laud" — the traveller of Europe, the traveller of 
England, the ti'aveller of America — goes now to Judea ; and 
here he is depicted, as though his aspect, or his veiy name, 
had been written down. He beholds the land desolate and 
bai-ren, and asks this very question, and receives the veiy 
reply which is subjoined. 

The last part of the prophecy, which is contained in the 


commencement of the tliirtietli cliaptei", relates to a subse- 
quent restoration of the Jews, and is clearly at the present 
time not fulfilled. But, though it be a little digressing from 
our immediate argument, you will permit me, as we have the 
matter before us, to make this observation respecting it : this 
part of the prophecy establishes, I think, beyond the possi- 
bility of reasonable question, the anticipation that the Jews 
will be restored to their o-s\ti land. Many passages which 
seem to indicate this, and which ai-e found in the course of 
the prophetic books, are set aside as to this meaning by what 
is called a spiritual, or figurative, interpretation ; they are 
taken to denote the conversion of the Jews, and their great 
prosperity when blended with the church, and so on. I am 
not very sure that all tliat is right; I am a good deal inclined 
to believe that much which we thus spiritualize ought rather 
to be taken in its literal import. But thei-e is nothing in 
this passage which it is possible so to interpret ; there is 
nothing here that relates to their spiritual character, neither 
their wickedness nor their conversion is spoken of. It is a 
A'iew of their seciilar condition, their national and temporal 
affairs and state. And, therefore, as we have found the 
prophet true when he said, Thou shalt be scattered through 
all lands, and sold into Egypt, and so on ; so, I declare ti > 
you, it would take more than all the rest of the Bible to 
overturn, in my judgment, the third, fourth, and fifth verses 
of this thirtieth chapter. 

With respect, however, to that portion of the prophecy 
which is fulfilled, we see it in part with our o^vn eyes, and 
the fact is now before us. The nation of Isi'ael is at this 
very moment just in the position which is liei'e described. 
They are now scattered through every nation under heaven, 
and remaining a people yet ; with whatever single (and veiy 
few) exceptions, a people so distinct from all other people as 
to be quite prepared for their gathering together, and their 
restoration. Never has there been any other case in the 
whole histoiy of mankind, in which any people banished 
from their own country, and scattered throughout otlier 
nations, have remained distinct. The inhabitants of our 
own country are a compound — I was going to say, of scores 
of nations; but all are amalgamated into one mass. So with 
respect to the United States of America, and other parts of 
the world very much filled by immigration ; general aspects 



of clisbinctness may be found to pei"vade large breadths of 
country, but in the United States you could not pick out 
the Dutch from the German, or the German from the 
English, or the French from the rest, as you may the Jews 
from other people in every country where they are, over the 
whole world. 

And this fulfilment of the prophecy which we have 
before ourselves, is but a part of that series of fulfilments 
which have been going on now more than fovir thousand 
years. It was considerably more than two thousand years 
before Christ when Moses uttered this prophecy, and now 
it is nearly two thou.sand years after him ; and here is 
a course of prophecy in the space of two or three chapters, 
limning on from the time of Moses to the restoration 
of the Jews to their own land — from the time of Moses 
to this day, and beyond this (how far beyond we cannot 
tell) — one continued prophecy, full of minute and specific 
details, not in a single instance falsified, and in many 
instances fulfilled ! 

Now we have just this question to put : Was Moses a good 
guesser, or was he an inspired man 1 Why, if I asked this 
question of the veriest sceptic in refei'ence to any subject 
but religion, he would tell me this could never be done by 
guessing; and, if a difierent answer is given in relation to 
religion, we are justified in saying that it is because it does 
relate to religion, and the man does not like to admit 
anything in favour of religion which he can make any shift 
to deny. 

We set it down, then, that Moses was an inspired man. 
He spoke with confidence of these remote events, and gave 
minute details, because God told him what to say. And the 
whole of the writings of Moses, therefore, are the wi-itings 
of an inspired man; they profess to be inspired writings, 
and here is proof and evidence that they are what they 
profess to be. And he that hears this prophecy of Moses, 
and sees the fulfilment thereof, and is constrained to acknow- 
ledge the inspired character of Moses in consequence of 
it, is bound to take the whole Pentateuch, read it, and 
believe it. He that quarrels with the Pentateuch after 
he admits the inspiration of Moses, is nothing short of a 
fool, or a knave. 


Now religion and the Bible want nothing but common 
sense, and common honesty. There is no cause in the world 
which makes so sim2:)le, so naked, so direct, an appeal to 
common sense and common honesty. And there is no man 
in the world who will be so condemned for either a dishonest 
man, or a wicked man, in the day of God, as he that questions 
and rejects the Bible. 


Note. — This Lecture was prepared and preached without any 
reference to the press; and I do not now send it thither without 
rehictance, inasmuch as there is no pleasure in exposing one's-self to 
the acei'bities of ecclesiastical controversy. The demand for its pub- 
lication was immediate and general, both among my own friends and 
among the strangers whoin the notice given of it had attracted ; aud, 
as I was not ashamed of the sentiments uttered, their importunity 
Ijrevailed. My compliance was given, however, with the greater 
readiness, -and under a stronger sense of duty, Ijecause the sentiments 
thus adopted by the congregation are now theirs rather than the 
preacher's. As expressing the opinion of an individual the discourse 
could have been of little momeiit ; but, as embodying the views of a 
congregation comprehending, mider the circumstances, not a few 
Dissenters of respectal)ility and influence, it becomes of more impor- 
tance, and its i)uldication may, perhnps, have some slight influence in 
stemming the torrent of ecclesiastical frenzy by which, it might seem, 
the country, including even a portion of the Nonconformist press, is 
in danger of being carried away. As the Lecture has been ^vritteu 
since its delivery, it does not, of course, api^ear before the public 
exactly as it was preached. 

" I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran ; I have not spoken to 
them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and 
caused my peoijle to hear my words, then they should have tinned them 
from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. . . . The 
prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream ; aud he that hath my 
word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? 
saith the Lord." — Jer. xxiii. 21, 22, and 28. 

I HAVE announced my intention to make some reference 
this evening to the recent erection of a Romish hierarchy in 
England] an event certainly of much importance, exciting a 
lively sensation among all classes of persons, and not so 
remote from topics of ordinary pulpit instruction as to be 
altogether unsuitable to this place. 

* A Lecture delivered at Devonshii'e Square Chapel, London, on the 

3rd November, 1850. 


It is, indeed, not a little surprising in tliis, which has been 
thought by some to be the age of decrepitude in the papacy, 
to find a Pontiff — himself, but a few months since, flying 
from his palace and the imperial city before the hatred of 
its inhabitants, and restored only by the force of foreign 
bayonets— coming forth from his apparent weakness to strike 
a blow which, according to appearances, is to set all England 
in an uproar. 

The view which I now propose to take of the case is two- 
fold. I shall, in the first place, consider the ei-ection of the 
Romish hierarchy as a fact by itself; and I shall, in the second 
place, view it as a part of that system of energetic efforts for 
the advancement of popery to which it belongs. 

I. In tlie first place, then, I look at the erection of the 
Romish hierarchy in England as an isolated fact. 

And here let me first state what has been done. The 
Pojoe has issued a bull constituting in England twelve Romish 
sees and one archbishopric, ^vith the customaiy powers of 
bishops of the Romish church, and with titles derived from 
some principal place in their dioceses respectively. These 
twelve suffragan bishops, under their archbishop, form what 
is called an archiepiscopal pi'ovince. 

Such is the simple fact; and it has created a great sen- 
sation, both among Romanists and Anglican churchmen. I 
shall make a few remarks on the light in which it is viewed 
by each })arty. 

I. Fii"st, as to the light in which this fact is viewed by 
the Romanists. By them it is largely boasted of. It is 
represented by the Pope himself as the re-annexation of 
England to the papacy, and her restoration, as a luminary 
long darkened, to her oi-bit m the ecclesiastical firmament. 
And in accordauce with this example is the language held by 
inferior Romish ecclesiastics. 

I cannot but very much wonder at this vaunting. It 
might surely, in any case, have been held to be indiscreet : 
since, if a great step wei-e really being taken by Rome, 
nothing could have been more prudent than to take it cpiietly 
and inoffensively; while, on tlie other hand, the flourish of 
trumpets which has been actually sounded on this occasion 
cannot but have a tendency to arouse jealousy and hostility, 
to an undesirable, if not to an inconvenient, and even to a 
fatal, degree. 


There are, however, two grounds on wliicli, more particu- 
larly, I marvel at the lond vaunting of this measure. 

(i). The first is, that it is really so small an advance upon 
what existed before. From such eager glorying one might 
have thought that there had never been a Romish ecclesiastic 
in England since the Reformation. The case, however, is not 
so. In the year 1688, the first year of William and Maiy, 
and contemporaneously with the passing of the Toleration 
Act, the bulwark of our religious liberty, England was 
divided by the Pope into four districts by as definite a terri- 
torial division as that which now mai'ks oxxt the dioceses; 
and over each was appointed an ecclesiastic as the Pope's 
vicar. These ecclesiastics, indeed, were not called bishops, 
but vicars apostolic; yet they were bishops, and fully autho- 
rized to exercise episcopal functions in England, their title, 
to meet the temper of the times, being taken from some 
place either wholly imaginary, or in pagan lands. Thus the 
episcopal appellation of Dr. Wiseman, until now, has been 
Bishop of Melipotamus. In the year 1840, the four districts, 
or vicariats, into which England had been divided for the 
pui-poses of the Romish see, were again, by a clear territorial 
line, sulDdivided, and the number of vicars apostolic was 
increased to eight. 

What, now, has been added to this arrangement"? England, 
instead of being mapped out into eight districts, is mapped 
out into twelve; the ecclesiastics sviperin tending these dis- 
tricts, instead of being called vicars apostolic, are now called 
bishops ; the districts, instead of being called vicariats, are 
now called dioceses; and the bishops, instead of deriving 
their title from an imaginary region, call themselves by the 
name of an English town. Tliis is absolutely the whole 
affair. It is nothing but a change of style and title. The 
Romish ecclesiastical government having existed in England 
for more than a century and a half in one form, it now exists 
in another, and in one which seems to have little more 
advantage over its precursor than this, that it will allow of 
greater pomp and pretension. That it should afford Roman- 
ists some gratification to gaze on the splendid vestments and 
equipages of their high ecclesiastics is not, perhaps, un- 
natural, but it is evident that their holy father thinks them 
yet children, and ready to be pleased with toys. 

(2). The second ground on wliich I marvel at the boast- 


ings indulged in on the present occasion, is the absence of 
what I should have deemed the essential element of what is 
boasted of. In order to justify the assertion that England 
is re-annexed to the papacy, one would think that Romanism 
should have become the religion, either of the state, or of 
the nation. Neither of these results, however, has been 
obtained. The number of converts to Rome has, doubtless, 
within a few years, increased, but no one, I presume, pre- 
tends that they are yet the majority of the people; while it 
is quite clear that the government and the throne of England 
are, as yet, not Popish, but Protestant. What, then, does 
the Pope mean by affirming that his erection of Romish 
bishoprics in England effects the re-annexation of England 
to Rome? Thei'e is, I believe, no other country on earth 
which is considered as annexed to the papacy on a similar 

I take the present boast, consequently, to be both un- 
founded and ridiculous, a piece of pure gasconade, deserving 
only of a smile. It may be significant, indeed, of what is 
desired, and, perhaps (although on a strangely exaggerated 
view of the symptoms) expected, and, therefore, not with- 
out its value: but I cannot regard it as justified by what has 
been obtained. For a thing done by Jesuits, it has been 
done less jesuitically than might have been anticipated. 

2. I advert now to the light in which the erection of the 
Romish hierarchy in England is viewed by Anglican church- 
men. By them it is loudly complained of, and indignantly 
resented. And at this also, in some degi-ee, I marvel. But 
here it will be proper to notice distinctly two grounds of 
complaint, the one substantial, and the other formal. 

(i). The substantial ground of com2)laiut alleged by 
Anglican churchmen is, that the erection of a Romish hier- 
archy in England is an infringement of the British constitu- 
tion, in church and state. It is denounced as a violation of 
the law, an invasion of the church, an infringement of the 
prerogative, and a political conspiracy. I will notice these 
jmrticulars in succession. 

That the erection of a Romish hierarchy in England is a 
violation of the law has not yet been shown. It is evident 
that the Pope's bull has been carefully drawn up, if not con- 
sistently with the spu-it of the law, yet so as to avoid a Adola- 
tion of the law ; a point in which the Bishop of London has 


acknowledged that liis rival ecclesiastic has been successful. 
The law which most nearly touches the case is that which 
prohibits any ecclesiastical person from assuming the style or 
title of any Anglican see. Accordingly, no one but the person 
appointed by the Queen may legally call himself Bishop of 
London; but it is no breach of this law for any one to call 
himself Bishop of Southwark. It may, j^erhaps (although 
that may be disputed), be contrary to the spirit of the law ; 
but, in practical matters, it is the letter of the law we have 
to do with, and not the spirit. If, however, upon further 
search, it should turn out that any Romish ecclesiastic, by 
assuming the powers conferred by the Pope's bull has vio- 
lated the law, then the course will be easy. Let the matter 
be referred to the Queen's Bench, and according to law be 

That the erection of a Romish hierarchy is an invasion of 
the Church of England, is an assertion which, I confess, to 
me wants proof. It would have been so, indeed, if the Pope 
had appointed bishops of the Church of England; but he 
has done nothing of the kind. He has very pi'operly con- 
fined himself to appointing bishops of the church of Rome, 
a church Avliich has had a legally recognized existence in 
England for a hundred and sixty years, and by none of 
the appointments within -N^hich has the Cliurch of England 
felt itself aggrieved. 

Archdeacon Hale carries this idea so for as to assert that 
tiie Pope, by constituting an archbishop of Westminster, 
has extinguished two of the most ancient archiepiscopal sees 
in the Western Church : meaning, it is to be supposed, those 
of Canterbury and York. I must acknowledge that I read 
these words with astonishment. Does Archdeacon Hale, 
then, really hold that the Pope has power to effect such a 
catasti'ophe '? Or has such an appalling fact really taken 
place? For all that appears to the contrary, the arch- 
bishoprics of York and Canterbury still exist, and the right 
]-everend personages appointed to those sees by Her Most 
(gracious Majesty still enjoy both their emoluments and their 
honours. May we be permitted to learn from their gi-aces 
whether they feel themselves at all shaken by the thunder of 
the Vatican? 

The assertion of Archdeacon Hale evidently proceeds on 
the assumption that the Church of England and the church 


of Rome are but two parts of one more comprehensive body, 
"the Western Church;" but this, .surely, is an obvious 
fallacy. The Church of England, indeed, may be sufficiently 
lowly — or proud, as the case may be — to acknowledge the 
validity of Romish orders, and may have the simplicity to 
expect, in return for such a coui'tesy, the acknowledgment of 
her own ; but she has never been indulged with this favour. 
On the contrary, it is well known that the church of Rome 
has all along considered the Church of England as schis- 
matical and heretical; in accordance with which Dr. Wise- 
man has recently, in public, spoken of her JNIajesty as an 
heretical sovereign. It is clearly, therefore, a matter of 
mere consistency that the Pope should altogether ignore 
the Anglican church; and in this view it is quite impossible 
he should invade it. 

This charge, however, is further siipported by the allega- 
tion that the Pope sets w]) a claim to territorial dominion in 
England. But this, even if it were so, is notliing new. The 
ecclesiastical government which the Pope held in England by 
his vicars apostolic, was as truly territorial as that which he 
will now hold by his bishops. For the former he divided 
the realm, first into four districts, then into eight; and he 
now divides the realm into twelve districts for the latter. 
Why is that which has been acquiesced in for a hundred and 
sixty years to be made on a sudden a matter of crimination 
and complaint? 

I cannot see, however, that the fact is so. It belongs to 
every church, as such, to make territorial divisions, with a 
view, not to the ecclesiastical superintendence of the whole 
region, but to the superintendence of its own members 
scattered throughout it. Thus Methodism has its circuits, 
and Presbyterianism its territorial boundaries not less pre- 
cise. In like manner, the vicars apostolic wei-e a2)pointed to 
their districts to take charge of tlie members and interests 
of the Romish church therein; and to the same object, of 
course (for I have observed no language to the contrary), are 
the duties of the new hierarchy confined. Even the eccle- 
siastical rule of the Anglican bishops is not now strictly 
tei-ritorial. There is, for example, an Anglican bishop of 
London; but there ai'e multitudes of people in London — I 
am one of them — over whom he is no bishop, and does not 
pretend to be so. While every English subject was required 


to be a member of the English, chiii'ch, the territorial idea 
of episcopal jurisdiction might be maintained; but, when 
English Nonconformity was recognized by law, the govern- 
ment of Anglican bishops was necessarily ^vithdrawn from 
the surface of the land, and restricted to such part of the 
population as the Church of England could reckon her own. 

The erection of the Romish episcopate in England is 
further said to be an infringement on the royal prerogative. 
The Pope, it is alleged, has conferred titles of honour, which 
the Sovereign alone can properly do. I am not going to call 
in question the rule that the Sovereign is the exclusive foun- 
tain of national honour : the observation to be made is, that 
the Pope has neither conferred, nor jjretended to confer, any 
title of national honour whatever. The titles he has con- 
ferred, although derived from English towns and cities, are, 
nevertheless, not English titles of honoiu-; that is, they are 
not, and do not assume to be, on a par with similar titles con- 
ferred by the Queen. Such titles conferred by royalty would 
carry a certain public rank, would requii'e to be acknowledged 
by all public officers, and would authorize a new signature. 
The titles conferred by the Pope assume nothing of the kind. 
The new Romish bishops are not peers of the realm. Dr. 
Wiseman, although gifted by the Pope with the title of arch- 
l)ishop of Westminster, will not take precedence with the 
archbishop of Canterbury. No one need use the titles of 
the Romish bishops unless he pleases, nor can they use their 
titles as their signature. The bishop of London signs 
himself, Charles James London ; the Romish bishop of 
Bu-mingham signs himself, W. B. Ullathorne. The result 
is that the titles conferred by the Pope are not titles of 
national honour, but merely ordinary appellations of func- 
tionaries in the Romish chiirch, which it is clearly the prero- 
gative of the head of the Romish church to confer. 

We are assured, lastly, that the erection of the Romish 
hierarchy in England is part and parcel of a political con- 
spiracy. Now, if indeed a political conspiracy exists, let it 
by all means be tracked and fi-ustrated by appropriate politi- 
cal agencies. I must observe, however, that the extension 
of the ecclesiastical platform of a church existing in a 
recognized manner in England for so long a period does not 
bear upon the face of it such a character, and that such a 
charge ought not to be brought without proof. Nothing, 


indeed, is easiei* than to fling abroad an accusation of this 
sort, however destitute of foundation, and it has often been 
recklessly done; but it is a wicked and unmanly proceeding. 
Dissenters, above all classes of the English community, 
should beware of lending themselves to an artifice by which 
we ourselves have severely and unjustly suffered. It is not 
so very long ago (the sound has hardly yet pei'fectly died 
away) that Anglican chui-chmen loudly maintained the neces- 
sary disloyalty of all Dissenters, on the ground that no man. 
who was not a member of the Church of England could be 
a fjxithful subject of the realm. In the case both of our 
fathers and ourselves we know this to have been a libel; but 
we know also the purpose it was intended to answer. It 
was to make a body of hated religionists still moi-e hateful. 
It is only the old artifice of giving a. dog a bad name in order 
to justify the intention of brutally despatching him. 

(2). Such are the views I entertain of the substantial 
.injury supposed to be inflicted on the Church and State of 
England by the erection of a Romish hierarchy within its 
limits. I now advert, in the second place, to the formal 
objection which has been alleged against it. It is stigmatized 
as insolent and offensive. And so, indeed, it is. It is done 
in a bold, and even audacious, manner, without modesty or 
decorum: and I cannot at all wonder that it is annoying to 
Anglican churchmen, and especially to the Anglican clergy 
of every grade, to the last degree. On this point, however, 
I submit the following observations. 

I observe, in the first place, that this, from the Romish 
church, is just what was to be expected. It is not at all out 
of keeping with the character of that church itself, always 
cringing when it must, and insolent when it dare. Nor is it 
out of keeping with the feeling it may be su.pposed to cherish 
towards the Church of England. Time has been when the 
Chui'ch of England was somewhat saucy towards the church 
of Rome. She can scarcely have forgotten that she has a 
long score of insults to repay, or be disposed to do less than 
repay them with interest. There is, therefore, nothing to 
be surprised at. 

I observe, secondly, that, as a mere matter of offence, it is 
really of no moment, and that the most dignified course is to 
bear it with Christian meekness. We are all exposed to 
insolence occasionally, and only make the matter worse by 


fretting at it. Especially may it be consolatory to the 
Anglican clergy under such a trial, that they still have pos- 
session of the substantial good things to the enjoyment of 
wliich their ecclesiastical position has introduced them. Had 
there been any tangible interference with their emoluments, 
the case would, of course, have been different. 

I observe, thirdly, that the resentment now so loudly 
expressed on the part of the Anglican clergy has very much 
of an interested aspect. No doubt, the clergy feel very much 
for the Queen, and for the Constitution; but it is not in 
human nature that they should not feel also for themselves. 
And it is remarkable that they exhibit a sensitiveness to the 
present development of the Romish system altogether singular 
and unique. Other ecclesiastical platforms have beeu ex- 
tended throughout the country without any similar manifes- 
tation. There is a Baptist Union of England and Wales, of 
which I never heai'd that the bishops expressed any jealousy. 
There is a Congregational Union of England and Wales of 
somewhat higher pretensions, but of which I never heard 
that the bishops expressed any jealousy. There is a Metho- 
dist Conference of higher ecclesiastical pretensions still, but 
of this I never heard upon good authority that the bishoj^s 
felt any jealousy. There are also Presbyterian Synods of 
large territorial extent and high church prerogatives, of 
Avhich I never heard that the bishops expressed any jealousy. 
Nay, there has been for a century and a half an ecclesias- 
tical ])latform of the Romisli church, of which I never heard 
that the bishops expressed any jealousy. But the moment 
another bishop appears, the whole Anglican hierai-chy start 
as if they had seen a spectre. AVhy should this be? The 
reason is obvious. No other form of ecclesiastical develop- 
ment presents itself in a shape adapted to compete with the 
Anglican bishop; and he is content because they leave him 
in his mitred glory without a rival. But now the case is 
altered. In a Romish bishop he sees his like, his fellow, nay, 
the very model from which himself was formed. It wears a 
mitre as well as himself: lawn sleeves, too, and anon it 
arrays itself in much more splendid garments than his church 
provides for him, and it will enact the bishop with much 
more imposing pomp and ceremony than he can ever attain. 
Hence these griefs, and the doleful cry, "This is too bad!" 
Why, so, in some sense, it is, and we pity you in your morti- 


fication; but there is a littleness iu tlicse selfisli griefs wliicli 
will gain small sympathy with the mass of the community. 

I observe, fourthly, that, whatever mortification the 
Anglican clergy may now suffer, they have brought it upon 
themselves. It is the natural and direct result of that system 
of church notions genei'ally known as Puseyism. This 
system oiiginated about twenty years ago, amidst the fears 
created in the minds of some of the clei-gy by the introduc- 
tion and passing of the Heform Bill, and was intended to 
obstruct the progress of the too liberal ideas then in the 
ascendant. From that time to the present, efforts have been 
industriously made to Romanize the Church of England. 
We all recollect the Tracts for the Times, and their advocacy 
of apostolical succession and sacramental efficacy. We recol- 
lect how oue writer after another denounced the Reforma- 
tion and Protestantism, extolled the Papacy, and cried out 
for reconciliation with Rome. We have heard, also, of the 
changes attempted in the services of the church, by 
preaching in the surplice, by lighting candles, and by multi- 
plied genuflexions at the commvmion-table, now called the 
altar. What is the natural effect of all this 1 With respect 
to the last particular, the Bishop of London himself suggests 
that the process, which he affirms to have gone in some cases 
so far as to give the services of the church an histrionic, 
or theatrical, character, has favoured the develoj^ment of 
Romanism. ISTor can the operation of the other causes 
mentioned be doubted. Their practical influence has been 
seen in the conversions to the Romish church which have 
taken place in such considerable numbers, and among pei'sons 
of such high consideration, both among the clergy and laity. 
And yet, after all this, the Anglicans innocently ex])ress 
their wonder that the Pope should have thought the clergy 
and people of England had a leaning towards Rome ! It 
would rather have been marvellous if he had not thought so. 

I observe, fifthly, that the Anglican clergy may take a 
lesson now in the nature of clerical assumption as long prac- 
tised by themselves. They have seemed to make very light 
of ignoring the existence of the Dissenters, and denying the 
validity of their orders; but now they come to be served in 
the same mannei-, they resent it quickly and warmly. What 
is the Pope doing now to the Church of England but that 
■whicli the clergy of the Church of England have long been 


doing, and are in many instances doing at this day, to Eng- 
lish Dissenters 1 They have been carrying on their ecclesias- 
tical operations as though the Dissenters did not exist; and 
now he carries on his ecclesiastical operations as though the 
Church of England did not exist. They think his conduct 
ari'ogant and offensive; what, then, has been their own? 

In the sixth and last place, I obsei've, that the remedy 
for what is deplored lies by no means on the surface. On 
this point I turn to Anglican churchmen, and say — Well, 
gentlemen, you are in trouble ; but what would you, have 1 
Point out your remedy. 

In reply to this, I can conceive it to be said, in the first 
j)lace, We would have no ecclesiastic allowed to use the style 
and title of bishop of England. Very well. Then let a law 
be enacted to attain this object. Then, of course, you will 
hear no more of the archbishop of Westminster, or the 
bishop of Southwark. But mark what you will leave 
behind, and the condition in which you will leave it. You 
banish the na7ne of bishop, but you leave behind the bishop 
himself; the man, the priest, the vicar aj)ostolic, the working 
element, and the entire working apparatus, the activity of 
which is much more to be dreaded by you than the name and 
splendour of a bishopiic. This is not putting out the fire, 
but hiding it, and in svich a manner as actually to favour 
its progress. For, while you leave all this working machinery 
behind, you put it in a condition to produce the greatest 
possible efiect. You give to Romanism the prestige and 
influence of a persecuted sect. Of these thiiteen bishops 
you make so many martyrs; and you cannot be surprised if 
their adherents venerate them accordingly. Prohibit epis- 
copacy, if you will ; but remember that, in that case, you 
are fighting only with a shadow, and banishing nothing but 
a name. 

It may then be said by Anglican churchmen, This will not 
satisfy ns. We must have no further intrusion of popery. 
To this I reply, Very well : in this I agree with you. But 
this leads me to the second general view which I proposed 
to take, and to which I will now proceed. 

II. I observed at the commencement that I should regard 
the erection of a Romish hierarchy in England in the first 
instance by itself; and in the second as a part of the more 
extended aggressive apparatus with which it is connected. 



We are all awai-e that tliere is mucli more doing for the 
advancement of Popery in this country than the mere con- 
stitution of a Eomish episcopate. The efforts meet tis on 
eVeiy hand ; whether in the multiplication of chapels and 
religious houses, in the obtrusion into our thoroughfares of 
ecclesiastical processions, or in the assiduities of scholastic 
and domestic instruction. All this is highly important, and 
requires to be viewed very seriously; but not more seriously 
than wisely. The remarks which I offer on tliis part of the 
subject are the following: 

1. I hold the spread of Romanism in this country to be 
deeply deploi-able. Without saying that it is impossible for 
a Romanist to be a true Christian, and without denying that 
some Romanists are such, I speak of Romanism in terms of 
unqualified detestation. And, fiu'ther, without saying that 
there is not in other ecclesiastical systems, especially as allied 
with secular government, a large amount of similar evils, I 
maintain Romanism to be the most corrupt and pernicious 
of all ecclesiastical systems. In my judgment, it is hostile 
to the happiness of private, domestic, and social life, and to 
the general welfare of the community. It is politically 
noxious, and a foe to civil and i-eligious liberty; at once 
ambitious, despotic, and cruel. In religion, it is among the 
grossest of all superstitions and idolatries; playing with the 
imagination in order to stupefy the conscience, and deceive 
the heart. Not paganism is more con-upt, nor Mahome- 
tanism more intolei'ant; while no system ever known on 
eai'th has clothed its schemes of avarice, or its deeds of 
blood, with such plausible and audacious pretences of piety 
and charity. Among the calamities that may be conceived 
of as happening to our country, I know of none so gi*eat as 
would be constituted by the prevalence of popery. In Eng- 
land's Protestantism — not, however, confining that term to 
the Anglican church, for all bodies of Nonconformists, the 
Romanists only excepted, are Protestants too — in England's 
Protestantism is England's haj)piness, and England's ho2:>e. 

2. But, however deeply the spread of Romanism may be 
to be deplored, the religious activity of Romanists cannot be 
coerced. It is more than a hundred and fifty years ago that 
the pi'inciple of religious freedom was declared to be the law 
of England, by the passing of that great measure known as 
the Toleration Act, one of the first fruits of the glorious 


revolution of 1688. Under that act eveiy man lias, iu 
England, the right of freely exercising his religion, without 
hindrance or molestation. Here may worship after his 
fashion the Presbytei'ian, the Quaker, the Brownist, the 
Bai)tist, the Svvedenborgian, and the Mormonite; ay, the 
Mussulman, the Chinese, the Buddhist, and the Hindoo. 
Then surely, also, the Romanist. There can be no exception 
made in his case, without throwing overboard the very 
principle on which the whole enactment rests; namely, that 
religion is an affair between man and his Maker, and that 
earthly governments have nothing to do with it. 

Besides, what is the meaning of any special squeamishness 
in relation to Romanism 1 We, who could endure a Turkish 
mosque, a Buddhist temple, or the hut of an African fetish, 
what is the reason that we are provoked beyond bearing at 
the service of a Romish cathedral 1 Its idolatry and eiTor ? 
Impossible : for then we should hate all alike. It is the 
mere spirit of religious animosity and hatred, which is pro- 
vei'bially the keenest and most implacable towards our 
nearest neighbour, and closest competitor. 

It is an accident attaching to the Romish church that it 
has an episcopal platform, an accident, however, to which the 
episcopacy of the Church of England itself is owing. Yet 
it is but an accidental characteristic. This, however, is the 
gist of the whole matter. If Romanism in England had 
not unfolded itself into a hierarchy, its progress might have 
gone on quietly enough. Why, it might have happened that 
the Anglican clergy should have had to contend with twenty 
hierarchies, instead of one. As things have turned out, 
other religious sects have not been so enlightened as to dis- 
cei-n the scriptural and apostolical character of prelacy; but 
it is conceivable that they might have shared in the benefit 
of this illumination, and then every sect would have had its 
bishops and archbishops, and poor England would have been 
carved out into dioceses by so many ecclesiastical knives that 
perhaps not a parish would have remained entire. In what 
a deplorable condition would the Anglican bishops have been 
then ! Certainly, there is something in the Providence which 
has guarded them from such an overwhelming competition, 
which might calm them under the appearance of an isolated 

It is said, indeed, by some persons, that a ground exists 


for making Romanism an exception to the great law of tole- 
ration, in its being not more an ecclesiastical than a political 
system, and a political system in pointed hostility to the 
British constitution. I am not ignorant of the part which 
the Koman pontiffs have played on the theatre of Europe, 
and in this realm of England, nor do I pretend to ignore the 
zeal and delight with which their successors would re-enact 
the game, whether of comedy, or of tragedy : but I feel no 
foi'ce in the argument thus advanced in support of religious 
intolerance; and for this simple reason, that it covers too 
much grovind. " Do not tolerate Romanism as a religion, 
for it is political also." To this I reply, So are many other 
religions, the Mahometan, for example ; and, if you refuse to 
tolerate all such, religious liberty no longer exists. "Do 
not tolerate Romanism as a religion, for it is politically hos- 
tile to the British constitution." To this I reply, See what 
you ask. You must then repeal, not only the Emancipation 
Act, which was brought forward by the Duke of Wellington 
and Sir Robert Peel as the only alternative of civil war; 
but you must repeal the Toleration Act, which has been the 
basis and guarantee of religious peace and general prosperity 
to England for a hundied and fifty years. He would be a 
powerful statesman who could do this, and a bold one who 
would propose it. Free and happy England would never 
permit this re-imposition of her chains. Nor can it be 
necessaiy. Noxious political tendencies can be controlled 
without religious intolerance, or not at all. 

Indeed, the Romish church and all other churches are, as 
to this matter, in the same boat. The principle which brings 
freedom to them is the same which brings freedom to oui-- 
selves. The chains which are forged for Romanists to-day 
may be forced on Dissenters to-morrow. If Nonconformists 
do not hold fast the principle of religious liberty in its fullest 
extent, they, or their children, will be likely to x-ue the day 
when they abandon it. If we should unhappily lend our- 
selves to legislation against the religious liberties of Roman- 
ists, we should deserve in the next session of Parliament to 
lose our own. 

3. As to the results of the activity now displayed for the 
advancement of Romanism, I pretend not to prophesy. 
Questions are anxiously asked in many quarters on this 
point. Will popeiy again have the ascendancy in England ? 


And will times of persecution retui-n ? To all such questions 
I liave only to answer, I cannot tell. God has his own pur- 
poses to fulfil, and he will accomplish them. So far as the 
Church of England is concerned, however, I have no hesita- 
tion in saying that, if such a calamity shoidd, in the mystery 
of the divine ways, overtake her, she richly deserves it. 
While joyfully acknowledging the ti'uth which is in her 
formularies, and the piety which is among her members, 
looking at her historically, and as a church, I see that her 
liasis (for such the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is de- 
clared to be) is superstition, that her treasures are to this 
day I'eplenished by plunder, and that her hands are red with 
the nnexpiated blood of our fathers. But may God spare us ! 
If there be those for wiiose sake our country may be with- 
held from the desolating judgments which are to overtake 
the Man of Sin in all his dwelling-places, they consist of the 
great body of evangelical Christians of eveiy name within 
her borders. 

4. A much moi-e important question relates to our pi'esent 
duty, and the attitude which it behoves us to take in circum- 
stances, undoubtedly, of grave importance. No question, we 
all of us ought to be active. No man ought to be asleep. 
But so we ought to have been before, and the circumstances 
of the moment do but enforce an old obligation. And our 
activity now ought to be directed, not so much to the repulse 
of Romanism, as to the removal of ignorance, superstition, 
and vice, universally. It is comparatively of little moment, 
if people be left in ignorance and sin, whether they perish 
amidst Romish or Anglican formalities. 

With respect, however, to the present aggressive aspect of 
Romanism, it must be admitted that the great bulk of oiir 
popiilation are in a condition eminently accessible to Romish 
emissaiies. Large masses of them are totally ignorant, even 
of the simplest elements of Christianity ; and, generally 
speaking, the people have been trained by the parochial 
clergy in just such a manner as a Romish instructor would 
desire. ". Take me," says the Anglican clergyman to his 
parishioners, "as the priest of God to you. I am your 
authorized minister. Believe what I tell you, do what I bid 
you, and be satisfied that all will be well. Especially believe 
in the efficacy of the sacraments, and the sacredness of the 
Rj-aycr-book." Thus have the people been trained, not to 


Christianity, but to wliat Dr. Gumming, in liis sermon before 
the Queen, lias not infelicitously called Churchianity ; to 
faith in the ritual, and faith in the priest. 

Now it is not difficult to see that this method of parochial 
teaching has originated in the presence and activity of Dis- 
senters of various classes, against whose growing influence 
the clergy liave sought to defend themselves by thus setting 
up an exclusive ecclesiastical claim. But the presence and 
activity of Romanists quite alter the case. That which was 
a defence as against a Dissenter is no defence as against a 
Romanist. "Do not hearken to Mm!" says the clergyman; 
" he is not a church minister. Keep to your church, and 
listen to your priest." And so the contemned Dissenter 
departs. But now comes the Jesuit. " I am of the church," 
says he, "the true church, and I am a priest; you may listen 
to me." And now commences a controversy, church against 
chui'ch, the Papal church against the Protestant church, the 
church of Rome against the Church of England ; and in this 
controversy the Romanist has certainly the best story to tell. 
"When did your church begin?" says he. "At the Reforma- 
tion." "O!" he I'eplies, "mine is much older than that. 
And what is your church founded upon?" " Acts of Parlia- 
ment." "Ay," he rejoins, "mine is founded on the apostles. 
And who is the head of your chiirch?" "The Queen!" 
"Indeed," says he; "mine has a spiritual head, St. Peter and 
his successors. But what can your priest do for you?" "He 
can regenerate me in baptism, j^repare me for confirmation, 
and give me the sacrament." " I can do all that for you," 
continues the Jesuit, "and much more. I can offer the 
sacrifice of the mass, and give you the real body and blood of 
Jesus Christ." Now, I ask, what is the state of mind upon 
which such appeals as these are adapted to make the easiest 
and the deepest impression? Is it not precisely that in 
Avhich pre^^ails faith in the ritual, and faith in the priest? 
This is just the soil in which the seed scattered by the 
Romanist is most likely to germinate; and thus the Anglican 
parochial priest has been preparing the ground for the 
Romish emissary. 

That I am not speaking Avithout book when I say that, in 
the controversy church against church, the Romanist has the 
best of the argument, may appear from the fact, that not a 
few persons of large information and cultivated powers have, 


of late years, transferred themselves from the Anglican to the 
Papal communion. Dr. Newman and many more, whatever 
they are, are no fools, and the mystery of their conversion is 
probably to be resolved into the exclusively ecclesiastical 
view which they have taken of the questions at issue. 

And while the Romanist, as thus pitted against the 
Anglican, will find himself to have the best of the argument, 
the Anglican will find him, in practical conflict, to wield the 
heaviest weapons. Parish clergymen have been accustomed, 
in many instances, to lead a life of ease and self-indulgence; 
Romish emissaries will set an example of self-denial and 
assiduity. Parish clergymen are, in many instances, very ill 
qualified for the religious, and especially the controversial, 
instruction of the people ; Romish emissaries will show them- 
selves to be highly educated men, and skilful dialecticians. 
Parish clergymen have, in many cases, habituated their flocks 
to take bribes; Romish emissaries will outbid them. The 
Anglican church appeals to the imagination by a ritual in, 
some degree showy and imposing; the Romish church will 
eclipse its glory by more pompous and magnificent cere- 

No, my brethren. English churcliianity can make no head 
against Romish churchianity. They are but two species of 
one and the same thing, and the weaker cannot resist the 
stronger. The proper opposing power here is not the church, 
but the Bible. 

One immediate effect of a reference to the Bible is to get 
us out of the sphere of priestly authority, by bringing us 
into contact with "the Word of God," the supi-eme and 
exclusive authority to which all priests must bow, and by 
which all priests must be tried. 

Another immediate efiect of a reference to the Bible is 
that it entirely alters the nature and groxuad of the contro- 
versy. There is no longer a question of churchianity, but of 
Christianity. We ai'e in presence of the cardinal truth, that 
" in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor 
uncircumcision " — neither Anglicanism nor Romanism — 
"but faith which worketh by love" (Gal. v. 6): that is to 
say, nothing but personal religion, independently of all 
churches, and all church relations. With the Bible alone 
before us, the parties whom we address are no longer per- 
plexed by antagonistic persuasions — "Belong to this church," 


or, "Adhere to that;" the pleadings all go in a different, in a 
common, direction — " Be ye reconciled to God." There is no 
longer an interested asjiect in our appeal, as while one is 
endeavouring to gaia a proselyte and another afraid of losing 
one ; our entreaty becomes undeniably generous and influen- 
tial — "We care not whom you follow, so as you will save 
your own soul." There is no longer an assumption, or an 
appearance of assumption, of authority by man over his 
fellow; the voice of man is hushed, and the teacher professes 
nothing but to commend to his hearers the word of God— - 
" Judge ye what I say." By this word the understanding is 
enlightened, the conscience is probed, the passions are roused, 
and the whole soul at once subdued and cleansed, sanctified 
and gladdened. " The law of the Lord is perfect, converting 
the soul ; the testimony of the Lord is sm-e, making wise the 
simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the 
heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening 
the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever; 
the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether" 
(Psalm xix. 7-9). 

In the use of this weapon, then, lies our strength. It is 
that which God has appointed for his work, nor have we 
need to fear its power. It has always been the dread and 
terror of Rome. It was by gradually withdrawing it from 
general use that she succeeded in palming upon Christendom 
her blasphemous assumptions; it was by the reproduction of 
it to the world that the Reformers struck so heavy a blow at 
her dominion ; it was by the free use of it in their ministra- 
tions that the Puritan divines caused evangelical religion to 
root itself in England; and it is at this moment by the wide 
circulation of it throughout the land that the maintenance 
and diffusion of piety are most effectually promoted. Be 
this, therefore, our armour; "the sword of the Spii-it, which 
is the word of God." 

It was with a view to this part of oiu- subject that I 
selected the passages of Scripture which I read at the com- 
mencement of the discoui-se. They are a portion of the word 
of the Lord in relation to the false pi'ophets of Jeremiah's 
day. " I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran ; I have 
not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had 
stood in my counsel, and caused my people to hear my 
words, then they should have turned them from their evil 


way, and from the evil of tlieir doings. . . . The prophet 
that hath a dream, let him tell a dream ; and he that hath 
my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the 
chaff to the wheat 1 saith the Lord." 

The distinction which is here drawn between the -dreams 
of the unsent prophets and the word of the Lord, may he 
applied without any injustice to the matter before us. 
Assuredly, they who have nothing to say to vis but about 
churches, Anglican or Roman, have nothing better than a 
dream to tell; nor can they justly affirm that the Lord hath 
sent tliem to tell it. Yet how busily are they telling it to 
kindred dreamers ! And how gaily the dreamy dance of 
formalism goes on, till its gorgeous pageantiy is lost iu the 
shadows of endless night! But "what is the chaii' to the 
wheat '? saith the Lord." There are those whom he has put 
in possession of "his word;" and it is for them to speak his 
word faithfully. If we stand in his counsel, and make the 
people hear his words, then, under his blessing, shall we turn 
them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings. 

Upon this subject I would fain say a woi'd, in the sincerest 
kindness, to the clergy of the Church of England. To those, 
at least (and they are not a few), who have known and felt 
for themselves the power of the Word of G-od to enlighten 
the eyes and convert the soul, I would say, Come, brethren, 
over the Bible let vis shake hands. We are now in a com- 
mon peril, and we may take common action for our safety. 
I cannot reconcile myself to your ecclesiastical platform, nor 
you yourselves to mine ; but there is something far more 
precious to us both than either of them, it is the Gospel of 
Christ, and the salvation of men. Let us earnestly dissemi- 
nate scriptural knowledge. I say from my heart, if the 
diffusion of the Bible overthrows the Baptist denomination, 
let it be overthrown ; and, if you can say the same from your 
heart respecting the Anglican church, then we can work 
together, and God will be with us because we are with him. 
If, however, it be otherwise, and if the Anglican clergy, even 
the most evangelical among them, will meet Romish aggres- 
sion only by the assertion of the purity and excellence of 
their church, and by the reiteration of assumptions on its 
behalf as baseless as any put forward on behalf of the 
papacy, then, indeed, shall I regard the Church of England 
as doomed, and the hour of her destiny as not far removed. 


For oiix'selves, beloved brethren, let us work for God and 
for man while life and opportunity last. We know that 
there is a vast and glorious plan which God is working ont, 
and of which we and our times are but a small constituent 
l")art. It comprehends many ages past, and many ages to 
come. It comprehends many agencies, and many events; 
and among these the development of Romanism, and its 
destruction. It may be that the Man of Sin is about to re- 
assume what was once a part of himself, and has ever been 
near of kin to him, in order that he may be prepared for the 
fearful judgments which most surely await him. Be it so. 
Even so let all thine enemies perish, O Lord : true and 
righteous are thy judgments. "Fallen, fellen, is Babylon," 
shall be a cry, not of defeat, but of victory; not of soitow, 
but of gladness. Yet let the voice be heard of heavenly 
warning, which saith, " Come out of her, my people, lest ye 
be partakers of her plagues." 

Finally, my brethren, let lis not allow ourselves to 1)e 
carried away by the irruption of ecclesiastical frenzy which 
has suddenly burst upon us. In our patience let us possess 
our souls. A time of excitement like the present should 
lead us to fall back on our principles, and to adhere to them 
with steadfastness. "The Lord reigneth:" and under the 
shadow of his wings shall we find our refuge, until calamities 
be overpast. 


I NEED not say anything here of the high importance of 
missionary operations, or the deep interest attaching to them ; 
of the strenuous labours by which they are carried out, or 
the constant and cheerful liberality by which they should be 
supported. Nor is it my intention to say anything here of 
the vast developments towards which missionary operations 
are tending, or of the gi'owing triumphs to which they are 
destined. I pi'opose to carry your thoughts not so much 
forwards as backwards, to examine not so much the progress 
of the edifice as its foundations, and to lay open not so much 
the work to be done as the principles by which it should be 

There is much importance in an investigation of this kind. 
All labour requires to be sustained by congruous and propor- 
tionate impulses. The prospect of gain animates commercial 
enterprise, and the hope of power the vigils of ambition. 
Without an adequate aim, clearly discerned and duly appre- 
ciated, exertion may, indeed, be violent ; but it will be also 
fitful and transient, commenced under the influence of 
excited feeling rather than of sound judgment, and liable to 
terminate in disappointment, if not in disgust. Lamentable 
as such an issue is in the oixlinary concerns of life, it is most 
of all to be regretted in operations which relate to the spread 
of religion, and the aiTairs of the kingdom of Christ. In no 
case is it more impoi'tant than in these — in none is it so 
important — to understand well why we put ourselves into 
action, and what results we desire to produce. 

For an investisration of this kind there is also occasion. 

* A Lecture delivered at the Baptist Library, Moorgate Street, London,. 
October 20th, 1852, at a meeting of the Yonug ]\Ien's Association in aid 
of the Baptist Missionary Society. 


Althougli of remoter origin, during the last sixty years the 
missionary enterprise has been entered into by a large 
number of ])ersons, and by many with great ardour. Trea- 
sure, talent, life, have been consecrated to it in large 
amounts; and still its ever-enlarging field presents new 
claims. I am far from saying that the temper of the 
Christian world will not be found in full harmony with these 
constantly-enlarging calls ; but I think I shall not be alone, 
if I confess that, in my breast, anxiety mingles with hope. 
I am not without suspicions that the mainspring of the 
machine is approaching, the limit of its elasticity, and that 
the missionary spirit, such as it is and has been, has done 
nearly all it can do. I am not quite sure that some are not 
asking what has been done, and what is likely to be done, in 
a tone that expresses little satisfaction in the past, and gives 
little promise for the future. It is for this reason that I 
think it not unreasonable to innate you to inquii^e, Why have 
Ave been in motion 1 What have we intended, or wished to 
accomplish ? 

The title of my Lecture speaks of the ultimate ground of 
missionary operations. This form of expression, of course, 
implies that among the grounds on which missionary toils 
have been undertaken some are more proximate, lie more 
upon the surface, and sooner meet the eye. Let us look for 
a moment at these. 

The first which presents itself, perhaps, is the wretched 
condition of the pagan world. For a considerable period our 
country was amused, and even its more earnest Christians 
were beguiled, by representations of the simplicity and 
innocence of the heathen nations ; representations which, 
when men of a different stamp put them to the test, were 
found to be mere reflections of the practical heathenism of 
the travellers that made them. Deeply aftecting, and but 
too just, descriptions of the nations, whether civilized or 
savage, were ultimately sent home, and we were made aware 
that the most painful exliibitions in the sacred volume con- 
stituted a true portraiture of man in every age, and in every 
clime. Then the churches began to pity them. Their deep 
ignorance and pollution presented themselves to our view, as 
inevitable and too copious sources of both present and futvire 
woe ; and, havuig a knowledge of him who came " to seek 
and save that which was lost," our pity began to impel us to 


exei'tion. Then we lieard of our warrant and commission to 
" pi'each the Gospel to eveiy creature," and of the universal 
triumph to which the Gospel was destined. Then the 
trumpet-sound burst from the rural solitudes of England 
upon our startled ears, " Expect great things ; attempt gi-eat 
things." We went forth — not forgetting that our action was 
but instrumental — to save. We aimed at the conversion of 
the world. 

Do I mean to complain of this ? Was it unchristian to 
feel compassion for souls ] Or is the Gospel not adapted to 
convert, and designed to save? I am quite prepared for 
these questions ; and I give in reply a frank assurance that 
I utter no complaint. All was doubtless right as far as it 
went. I only raise a question whether the impulse went far 
enough ; and I propose to make my way to an answer to 
this question by propounding one or two observations. 

The object before us having been the conversion and 
salvation of men, I propose, in the first place, to inquire 
what proportion the result attained may be conceived to Ijear 
to the labours undertaken. 

I am well aware that such a question does not admit of a 
categorical answer. The influences of the preached Gospel, 
and even of the distributed Bible, are far too extended, and 
too much concealed from the liuman eye, to permit the souls 
saved by such instrumentality to be numbered on earth ; and 
I rejoice to avow my conviction that much more has been 
done in this way by missionary exertion than now is, or in 
this world ever will be, known. Having made this acknow- 
ledgment, however, let me return to my purpose, and avail 
myself of such materials as are presented to my hand. 

The fruits of evangelical missions of every country, and of 
every name, in heathen lands, during the last sixty years, 
may be roughly computed at 100,000 souls; persons not 
made nominal Christians, but truly converted to God. 

Do I think this result smalU Especially when I am 
reminded that the value of one soul exceeds that of a 
thousand worlds? Undoubtedly, I do not think this result 
small ; or permit myself to forget how far the salvation of a 
single soul outweighs the expense and labour of the whole 
missionary enterprise. God forbid that I should fail to 
sympathize, as far as sinfid mortal may, in the unutterable 
joy which preA"ails "in the presence of the angels of God 


over oue sinner that repenteth" ! But this, although a part, 
is only a part, of the subject before us. The result of 
missionary labour, if not small in itself, may yet be small 
comparatively; and, indeed, it is so, when set by the side 
of some things with whicli it may not unfairly be put in 

The result of missionary labour is small in comparison 
with the portion of the human race contemplated by it. This 
comprehends generally the pagan nations, which have been 
computed to contain eight hundred millions of mankind, out 
of the thousand millions of which the human race is supposed 
to consist. To by far the larger portion of these the Gospel 
has not even been preached. The foot of the Christian 
missionary has never trod the regions where they dwell, the 
sound of his voice has never struck upon their ears. The 
foct which I am now stating is one of the standing arguments 
employed by the advocates of missionary exertion. "Help, 
for the multitude of peoples yet unevangelized ! " And, in 
order that tlie eye may assist the appeal thus made by the 
ear, a map is often exhibited, showing in lively colours over 
what broad spaces none have yet travelled to proclaim the 
good tidings. Certainly the saved are few to the lost. 

The result of missionary labour is small in comparison 
with the total popidation of the regions evangelized. I am 
not careful about the estimate which may be formed of these 
as to their extent. I cast my eye over the regions throughout 
which the Gospel has been more or less extensively and 
eifectively preached, and I will leave it to any one to choose 
for himself what portions of them he will regard as evange- 
lized, and what portions he will still consider as pagan ; but 
again I say that the saved are few, and the lost are many. 
For even in these regions the majority of the population have 
not heard the Gospel. ^Many have heard it, doubtless, and 
so many that, when the probable sum of them is named, it 
will appear a veiy large number ; but this number will be 
found to fall very i\\r short of the entire population. Gospel 
hearers may be reckoned by hundreds of thousands, but the 
population is to be reckoned by hundreds of millions. 
Missionaries gather what may be called, under the circum- 
stances, good congregations ; but in a region, in a town, at a 
festival, in a village, those who do not assemble are for the 
most part far, far more numerous than those who do. In 
evangelized regions, then, the saved are few to the lost. 


The resvilt of missionary operations is small in comparison 
Avitli the numbers to whom the Gospel is actually preached. 
Here, again, precision is not to be expected, nor shall I 
attempt even an approach to it. The general fact is suffi- 
ciently obvious from the common, and all but invariable, 
tenor of missionai'y nai-ratives. In every congregation that 
we hear of in pagan lands, ajoart from those instances in 
which churches have been formed and regular worship estab- 
lished, the large majority are either trifling, or hostile ; the 
preacher is plied "vvith questions either curious, or captious ; 
and it is recorded with much pleasure that one or two 
seemed to be seriously impressed, or remained for further 
inquiiy. It is, I suppose, beyond the truth, if I conjecture 
that one in fifty of the heathen who have heard the Gosj^el 
have embraced it ; even among the multitude of Gospel 
hearers, therefore, the saved are few to the lost. 

Now as, on the one hand, I may not underrate the salva- 
tion of a soul, so, on the other hand, no man should under- 
rate the loss of a soul. " Thousands have been saved," say 
some, "rejoice with tis." We do so; but we rejoin, "Millions 
have perished: mingle your joy with lamentation." 

But further, the results of missionary labours are small in 
comparison with those labours themselves. Confining our 
view to the last sixty years, the sum of the various elements 
which have been embarked in the missionaiy enterprise is 
far indeed from insignificant. The pecuniary expenditure 
must be reckoned by millions sterling. In December, 1846, 
it was stated in the " Missionary Register," that the 
amount contributed to various evangelical missionary socie- 
ties throughout the world was no less than >£6o8,ooo, or 
considerably more than half a million sterling in that siugle 
year. But this is the smallest in real value of all the items. 
The men are far more precious than the money. From the 
"Year Book of Missions," published by Mr. Hoole in 1847, 
it appears that the number of missionaries at that period 
employed in various parts of the world amounted to eighteen 
hundred — a niimber which, large as it is, can scarcely be less 
than doubled by the catechists and native assistants reported, 
but not named, and consequently not i-eckoned. These men 
of God had gone forth over the face of the whole earth, and 
were at that period, as appears from the same work, distri- 
buted to one thousand and four hundred stations of toil. 


None of these numbers have diminished since 1847 ; on the 
contrary, they have for the most part experienced an 
argmSationf and they had been nearly what they wei-e m 
^847 for many years before. Tlie amount f .^^st e^e.^on, 
^'sacrifice, thus in a few words -F-secl xt xs^d^ihcult^ 
it is impossible-distinctly to conceive To ^^^ /^« ^,*\^;^ 
upon the money expended, the piety, talent, .^f df^^^^^^] 
hLts consecrated to these labours and the interests and 
affections sacrificed to them, are altogether countless and 
iSess. Could we truly represent the toils which these 
Ihree thousand six huncbed labourers have undergone the 
perils they have encountered, the number of places at which, 
S the number of persons to whom, they have communi- 
cated the Gospel of Christ, either by preaching or by distii- 
bution of the Scriptures, together with the various ramifica 
tions of the tidings they have spread and the mfiuences they 
ha^ exerted, the%um would, doubtless, be found to exceed 
nolonly calculation but imagination. And this process 
commenced more than half a century ago, and advancmg 

continuously to its present --S-^-^«|;^^^i;:^f^ f,^^^^^^^^^ 
conversion of (we suppose) 100,000 souls That this mm bei 
in itself is large I have already admitted; but I am now 
looking at it in comparison with the means employed, and m 
this view I cannot make the same admission. Ah Chii.t is 
God's salvation to the ends of the earth, so is the Gospel of 
Christ the divinely-appointed instrument for brmgmg the 
nations to the knowledge and love of it. It is the sword by 
which he conquers, and the sceptre by which he rules, in 
the measure of success with which he has crowned the use of 
tliis instrumentaUty we own his divine goodness, and foi it 
we give him praise; but in the means theniselves there was 
Tn adaptation to produce a much larger result. That blessed 
GospeWhich has' converted some who heard it might ha e 
concerted all, for it is God's appointed instrument for thi. 
end; and its eflicacy in one case demonstrates its sufficiency 
for the rest. The Gospel, however, has not converted all 
who in pagan lands have heard it, and that not by a^eij 
large nvfmber. Many, many, more have perished xmder it 
than have been saved by it. Considering the mstrument- 
ality which has been in use, together with the manner in 
which, the time during which, and the extent throug^iout 
which, it has been employed, this is a consideration whicli. 


Avliile regardiug the salvation of men as our great object, 
cannot be without its saddening influence. We have gone 
out to save men, and men are not saved. We have met a 
prevailing pest with what professes to be a sovereign remedy, 
and by far the greater number of the patients are none the 
better for its administration. 

Having thus contemplated the result of missionary labour 
in relation to those who ai-e saved by it, let us further con- 
template it in relation to those who are not saved by it. I 
speak now, of course, of those who may be said in one way 
or another to have heard the Gospel, either directly or indi- 
rectly, either by word of mouth, or by perusal of the Scrip- 
tures or scriptural tracts. They are not converted by it, and 
consequently are not saved. It is not enough, however, to 
give a full description of their condition to say that they are 
not saved. Their condition is made worse. Their means of 
knowledge have been increased, and in many cases their 
actual knowledge has been increased also. Now, the means 
of knowledge are the measure of responsibility, and eveiy 
increase of the one is an augmentation of the other. It was 
this which made the situation of the Jews in the time of our 
Lord so serious, and even awful, " Then began he to 
upbi'aid the cities Avherein most of his mighty woi'ks were 
done, because they repented not : Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! 
Woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! For, if the mighty works which 
were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they 
would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But 
I say unto you it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon 
at the day of judgment than for you. And thou, Capernaum, 
which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to 
hell : for, if the mighty Avorks which have been done in thee 
had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this 
day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for 
the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee" 
(Matt. xi. 20-24). 

There is nothing in the change of circumstances to affect 
the principle on which this passage proceeds. The means of 
knowledge are divine gifts, to be improved and accounted 
for; and of them to whom much is given much will fitly be 
required. The preaching of the Gospel to the heathen throws 
at once a light from heaven into the midst of their antece- 
dent darkness ; it makes the most forcible appeals to the 

OF MISSIOXARY OPERATIOXS. 319 and to tlie heart; and, if the hearer gives no heed, 
and yields no obedience, his course of worldliness and sin 
becomes more culpable than it was before. He was not 
without blame when gross and vain superstitions at once 
deluded and degraded him; but he is much more criminal 
now, when " the true light shiuetli," upon him, and he will 
not walk therein. It will henceforward be better for Sodom 
and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for him; nay, 
better than for him will it be for those of his fellow-pagans 
to whom the great salvation has never been proclaimed. 

I am fixr from saying, or from wishing to insinuate, that 
tlie injury thus incidentally resulting to unbelieving heathen 
can supply any reason why the Gospel should not be preached 
to the heathen at lai'ge, or that it is for a moment to be \n\t 
into compai'isou with the unspeakable blessing conferred 
upon those to whom the Gospel is made the power of God 
iinto salvation. Let those who will believe the glad tidings 
be saved, whosoever by the rejection of them may perish ! 
Yet the thought has surely in it a measure of sadness, and 
may well serve as a drawback of some amount to our joy. 
Our object has been one of pure benevolence. Our hearts 
melted with pity. We beheld the condition of the lost, and, 
having the means of salvation in our hands, we went forth to 
save them. Some, thank God ! and, these not a few, have 
been saved by our instrumentalitj^, and we rejoice over them; 
but some, alas ! and these also not a few, have refused our 
friendly call, and sink in our very sight into a perdition 
aggravated by our interference. If it had not been for us, 
they would never have heard the Gospel which they refuse: 
if it had not been for us, those wonderful appeals would 
never have been made to them, the resistance of which now 
constitutes their chief guilt, and creates for them a more 
fearful doom than could otherwise have awaited them. Is 
not this melancholy i We would have done them good, but 
in effect we have done them harm. It is tlius in spirit their 
best friends who may be regarded as having kindled for them 
a funeral pile of awfvilness and terror otherwise unknown. 

Considerations of this class go far towards convincing me, 
that, regarding the missionary work as a work of pure bene- 
volence, its result is not satisfactory. I do not say that 
tliey make me feel inclined to relinquish it; but I may con- 
fess that they mingle with it an element of awe and sadness 


from wliicli I would fain escape. Tliey tend to make us 
dissatisfied with that view of the missionary work to which 
they attach themselves, and urge us to cast about, and to 
inquire whether there be any other ground on which its 
claims can more satisfactorily rest. 

No longer ^dewing it, then, as a mere enterprise of pity, 
it may be better, perhaps, to regard the call to missionaiy 
labour as the call of duty; a call which it is for us to obey 
irrespectively of consequences. 

Thei'6 can be no doubt that there is at least a measure of 
justice in this view. Beyond question, the call to missionary 
labour is the call of duty. To us the very highest authority 
proclaims it : "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel 
to every creature." Here no question of consequences is 
permitted to us. Whether men will hear or whether they 
will forbear, the message is to be conveyed to them, and we 
should be bound to persevere in the process, even if not a 
single sinner were saved from the wrath to come. All this 
is, doubtless, true and unquestionable; and yet to my mind 
even this is not wholly satisfactory. 

It is too hard to be satisfactory. God has made us with 
hearts as well as consciences, and it is not his wont to divide 
the one so entirely from the other. He has been accus- 
tomed to call into play the feelmgs he has given us, and it 
is not like him to allow us to find the right and the pleasant 
thus absolutely severed. It makes the performance of duty 
more agreeable, if some other reason can be assigned for it 
besides the naked one of a mere absokite command. The 
command to preach the Gospel to every creature being given, 
indeed, we. obey, and leave the I'esult to him who has a right 
to our services, and we will endeavour neither to rejoice 
over those whom we save, nor to weep over those whom we 
destroy; but tliis hardening of the heart can never be either 
pleasant to us, or in keeping with the character of the 
Master we serve. 

It may be further observed, however, that this sentiment 
of absolute duty is not that which was cherished and dis- 
played by the first preachers of the Gospel in the pagan 
world. I take Paul for my example, and I quote from his 
second epistle to the Corinthians the following language: 
"Now, thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to 
triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his 


knowledge by us in every place ; for we are unto God a 
sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them, 
that perish — to the one we are the savour of death unto 
death, and to the other the savour of life unto Hfe" 
(2 Cor. ii. 14-16). Without going into a minute criticism 
of this passage, this is manifest upon the face of it, that the 
apostle rejoiced in the whole resiilt of his ministry, alike in 
them that were saved and in them that perished; and that 
he considered himself as achieving a triumph by Christ 
equally over them that believed and them that believed not. 
It may be for us hereafter to inquire how this could be, and 
what cause for rejoicing he could find over those to whom 
his word was the savour of death imto death; all that I 
have at present to do witli is the fact that he did rejoice, 
and that the sentiment with which he fulfilled his course 
was not that of mere duty, of which we have been speaking. 

It may be laid down as a principle, then, tliat there is 
some ground or other on which the whole result of the 
Gospel ministry may be i-ejoiced in by a Christian heart, and 
be regarded, indeed, as a glorious triumph for which God is 
to be magnified. 

In searching after this ground, we shall begin in the 
easiest and gentlest manner if we take, in the fii'st place, a 
negative position. It is clear that it cannot be identified 
with the interest of man. To be the savour of life unto life, 
indeed, may be pleasant ; but to be the savour of death unto 
death must in all cases be a source of pungent regret. This, 
at least, so far as the individual is concerned. If there be 
any ground on which the latter effect of a pi-eached Gospel 
can be a source of gratification, it must be by the force of 
considei-ations drawn from another quainter, and of weight 
sufficient to counterbalance this obvious source of regret. 

We have, then, nothing to do but to turn our eyes towards 
God himself, and to inquire if there be anything in relation 
to his ways and his glory by which the sentiment of gladness 
may, under the circvimstances supposed, be justified. Now, 
we know that God's dispensations towards man, although 
benevolent, ai'e not exclusively benevolent. He has insti- 
tuted, and conducts, a moral government, involving rewards 
and punishments; and of this moral government his Gospel 
itself is, in one of its aspects, a dispensation. As contem- 
plating the whole of the human race, it is a system, not of 



actual redemption, but of pi-obationary mercy. It is glad 
tidings for all, " a faitliful saying, and worthy of all accepta- 
tion, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," 
even the chief of them ; but glad tidings proclaimed to men 
for their acceptance or refusal, as it 2:)leases them. " He 
that heareth let him hear, and he that forbeareth let him 
forbear." " He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, 
and he that believeth not shall be condemned." 

Now, from an attentive observation of God's ways, it 
clearly appears that he finds gi-eat excellency in a well- 
adapted probationary system, and views all its issues with a 
solemn complacency. Although it is not the only principle 
on which he proceeds (his benefits, on the contrary, being 
often distributed with a sovereign hand), yet he adopts it 
often enough to show that he finds a divine satisfaction in 
it. Thus he treated Adam as the father of our race, when 
lie subjected him to the great experiment in Eden. Thus he 
treats the whole race of man, whom he governs by the 
precepts and sanctions of the moral law. And thus he deals 
Avith mankind in the dispensation of his mercy. This test- 
ing of moral character, or experimental proving of intelligent 
agents, affords him a scope of action peculiarly his own, and 
fitted to yield liim a revenue of honour which he values. He 
does not shrink from the process because some of its issues 
may be — will be — painful; the object being wisely selected, 
and the terms being equitably arranged, he is certainly 
glorified, whatever may be the condvict, and, consequently, 
whatever may be the doom, of those who are subjected to it. 
It is characteristic of the Christian to have sympathy with 
God. The glory of God, which he makes his own first 
object, becomes also the first object of all his friends; an 
object which, in its incomparable greatness, rises superior to 
all others, and in which all others, however interesting in 
themselves, are practically merged. Thus, as God has been 
pleased to select a system of moral probation as that by 
which he will glorify himself in his dealings with mankind, 
in the progress and advancement of this system the Christian 
rejoices. Gladly would he have co-operated in a plan which 
should have had for its object the actual salvation of all 
men, more gladly, indeed, in one view, than in any other, as 
3'ielding an ampler gratification to his benevolence; but, 
since God has not been pleased to set any such plan on foot, 


]ie has in this respect no option. "What God is doing is the 
■working out of a plan of moral probation, by bringing to bear 
upon man's heart and conscience the full power of motive 
supplied by the intervention of his mercy in his beloved Son, 
and awaiting the i-esult, let men treat it as they may. It is 
a noble and a solemn thing to see how man's heart will act 
under this unparalleled weight of motive, and to behold the 
character thus fully brought out pass onward to the great 
tribunal where a just retribution awaits all its develop- 
ments. As friends of God we concur with him in this gi-eat 
movement, and, with warm feelings for his honour, yield 
ourselves gladly to the advancement of it. 

In this respect — that is, as an instrument of moral proba- 
tion — the Gospel has a sui-e and universal success. It does 
actually try every heart to which it is propounded. It is an 
appeal v/hicli men must either obey or resist. Its presenta- 
tion causes, whether men will or not, a manifestation of the 
secrets of the soul, either, on the one hand, by the exhibition 
of penitence and submission, or, on the other, by the develop- 
ment of enmity and rebellion previously unknown. After 
this thei'e is no more to be done. Man's heart has been 
tried to the utmost. No motives of greater power can 
j)ossibly be presented to it; nothing more just, nothing mox-e 
terrible, nothing more touching. Man is then ready for 
judgment. He has heard all that God has to say, and has 
given his answer; henceforth let God be glorified in the 
award of the Judge. The preaching of the Gosjiel is thus 
effectual both in them that believe and in them that perish, 
and whether its ministers be a savour of life unto life or 
of death unto death. Its pi'ogress throiigli a corrupt and 
darkened world constitutes a continuous victory, and its dis- 
seminators are warranted to say, with the a])ostle, " Now 
thanks be to God, who always causeth us to triumph in 
Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by 
us in every place." Even in unbelief, with its multifarious 
aspects, the influence of the knowledge of Christ appears, 
since there could have been no such manifestation of charac- 
ter but under the appeal of Gospel truth ; and, however the 
sinner may hurt himself by the rejection of it, God, who 
meant to bi'ing out his heart by it, has in his purpose fully 

It is for this full probation of mankind that the Avorld has 


been waiting. In the pagan world man's heart has long been 
left, like fallow ground, unproductive. It is capable of far 
deeper emotions, and of far more vigorous action, than it 
ever experiences until the truths of the Gospel are presented 
to it. Until then conscience slumbers, or is beguiled by 
accidental and conventional influences; until then the pas- 
sions have never beheld the gi^eat objects by which they are 
destined to be aroused, and hope and fear, joy and sorrow, 
love and hate, such as man was made for, have never been 
enkindled within his breast. The times antecedent to the 
coming of Christ were, in the apostle's words, " times of 
ignorance," which " God winked at ; " " but now he com- 
mandeth all men everywhere to repent," and the newly-un- 
folded motives are ready to enforce the command. To all 
nations, therefoi'e, let the command be carried, and the 
motives be displayed. The world cannot come to an end till 
this is done. The human race must not expire until its 
magnificent capabilities have been fully tested and disclosed. 

It is now for the Christian to say whether he can find in 
the object thus set before him a satisfactory impulse to mis- 
sionaiy labour. Relinquishing the conversion of all men, a 
result which at present he is not permitted to attain, and 
which it scarcely appears that the Scripture warrants him 
ever to anticipate, and seeking more than a sense of mere 
obligation, can he find a worthy aim in carrying out among 
mankind a system of moral probation] Is its end so wise, 
and are its terms so equitable, that the glory of God as pro- 
moted by it is deserving of his consecration? I vsdll not 
suppose an answer to these questions in the negative. 

Let us now bi-iefly retrace our steps in this discussion. 
We set out with inquiring after the ultimate ground of 
missionary operations. The most proximate one is benevo- 
lence, but benevolence does not derive a gratification suf- 
ficiently ample to render this satisfactory; the second is duty, 
but neither is this satisfactory, it is too cold and vmscriptural ; 
the third is sympathy with God in a grand scheme of moral 
probation. And here, if I mistake not, the heart can rest. 
We would preach the Gos2:>el to every creature, not so much 
expecting that every one shall attain salvation, for that will 
not be; not merely to acquit ourselves of an obligation, for 
every duty needs its animating motives; but that every man 
may be made acquainted with the glorious truths to which 


Ood has made man's heart to respond, and for his response 
to which time, judgment, and eternity, are waiting. 

This, to me, is the iiltimate ground of missionary opei-a- 
tious. And, if it be so to you also, you will readily concur 
with me in two practical suggestions with which I shall 
conclude this adch-ess. 

In the first place, we may learn how to form our estimate 
of missionary success. It has been customary, and not 
unnatural, to estimate success by conversions, or by hopeful 
appearances of conversion; I would estimate it rather by 
the number of persons to whom the Gospel has been preached, 
or of those, at least, to whom its grand persuasives have been 
brought home. Wherever the moral powers have been set 
in action, wherever the conscience and the heart have been 
aroused, there the Gospel has produced its effect. After this, 
a man must be either a believer or an unbeliever, he must 
■either reject the Saviour or receive him ; and, although I 
.shall be more happy if he accept the great salvation, and 
become with me a fellow-heir of eternal life, yet, if he do 
not, still I am happy. I have been instrumental in bringing 
him, as a rational creature of God, under the last and highest 
influences of his moral government; and, although I be to 
the individual " a savour of death unto death," I shall be 
"unto God" — which is of far greater moment — "a sweet 
savour of Christ." 

And while we thus learn how to estimate missionary 
success, we may learn also how to conduct missionary labour. 
This is, of necessity, directed in the first mstance to the 
awakening of sinners; but it has, perhaps, been too exclu- 
.sively directed afterwards to the care of the convei-ted — that 
is, to the formation and pastoral ovei-sight of churches. Of 
this, as an object regarded by itself, I would not for a 
moment be understood to speak slightmgly. Nothing can 
be more interesting, or more important. I only raise a 
question whether it is truly missionary, or exactly in the 
s})irit of the missionary enterprise. The precise aim of that, 
as I understand it, is to " pi-each the Gospel to every 
creatui'e;" those who are converted by it providing for the 
care of one another, by elements sure to be supplied among 
themselves. So it was, if I read the New Testament cor- 
rectly, with the first missionaries; and so, if I confess my 
secret but solemn thoughts, it ought in my judgment to be 


among tlieir successors now. A missionary of the cross, in 
my conception of liim, should be a winged messenger pro- 
claiming the glad tidings as he flies ; and if, here and there, 
the guilty and the wretched who have heard his proclamation 
and welcomed it, should lay hold upon him, and say, " Stay 
with us," I cannot but think that he should commit this 
work of edification to other hands, and reply, " Hinder me 
not, for the tidings I am charged with belong to nations, and 
tribes, and peoples, and tongues, who pine for my coming, 
and perish while I delay." 

In one word, I think that missionary operations should be 
less stationary, and more migratory. I should think I was 
doing more to advance God's purposes, and to prepare for the 
end of the world, by preaching the Gospel to a million of 
people, than by acting the pastor to a hundi-ed churches of 
Christ: for so it is written — "This Gospel of the kingdom 
must first be preached unto all nations for a testimony unto 
them, and then shall the end come." 




August 21, 1860. 

I AM sitting down to a critical examination of the remarks 
wliicli liave been made by several reviewers on my last work 
— "Lectures on Redemption."* 

I am entitled to do this, not merely on the general ground 
that all remarks in such a case are fairly open to examma- 
tion, but on the special ground, also, that the reviewers whom 
I mean to notice have both paid serious attention to what I 
have advanced, and written earnestly in opposition to me. 
It so happens that the theological system I have advocated 
constitutes the middle path between two extremes, these 
extremes being Hyper- Calvinism on the one hand and 
Arminianism on the other; in the position I have taken, 
consequently, I am lial^le to assault from two opposite 
parties, and both of them have frankly and strenuously done 
their duty towards me. On the part of the Hyiier-Calvinists, 
the Primitive Church Magazine for January, and the Gospel 
Herald for March and April, have replied to me ; and the 
General Bajdist Magazine has done so on the part of the 
Arminians, in its number for February. Under these cir- 
cumstances I am more than entitled to examine their criti- 
cisms—I am required to do it. It is due to my reviewers, 
as a token of respect in return for the respect they have 
shown to me; it is due to myself, that I may accept whatever 
help they may have aiibrded towards a modification, if truth 
should require it, of my doctrinal views; and it is due also 
to those who have given to my works an attentive perusal, 
and especially to my brethren in the ministry, on whom, 
according to one of my reviewers, they have been largely 

* This work forms part of Volume V. of the present series. 


influeutial.* A serious evil indeed would it be if I should 
have been a fallacious guide ; and I ought not, consequently, 
to fail of improving to the utmost the opportunity now 
afforded me of testing anew the views I have advocated. 

I sit down to this examination not in any degree of ill- 
humour with either myself or my I'eviewers. As to myself, 
my rejoicing is this, the testimony of my own conscience 
that, with simplicity and godly sincerity, I have sought after 
the truth as it is in Jesus ; and that I so sincerely seek it 
still as unspeakably to prefer the abandonment of an opinion 
to the vindication of it, if truth demands the sacrifice. As 
to my reviewei's, they really have said so many kind and 
respectful things of me, and have done me so much honour 
by the earnestness with which they have entered into argu- 
ment with me, that I have only to offer to each of them in 
turn my grateful acknowledgments. 

I may as well notice in this place a passage in which one 
of my reviewers exposes what he considers to be " the great 
vice" of my theological system. 

' ' The one great vice, " says my reviewer in the Primitive Church 
Magazine, "that pervades and deteriorates the entire theological 
system of Mr. Hinton, is that of making reason the judge of the 
various dispensations of God. Apart from this, his general views 
are otherwise sound and scriptural, and [they] become obscure and 
erroneous only when he adopts reason as his guide in theorizing on the 
great mysteries of revelation." 

And in a subsequent sentence in the same page he repre- 
sents me as endeavoui-ing to "adapt the divine government 
to the dictates or conclusions of our reason." 

Now I plead absolutely nqt guilty to this indictment ; 
and, as no proof is adduced in support of it, it is scarcely 
needful that I should notice the argumentation founded 
upon it. From a careful examination of the Scriptures, I 
certainly have ari'ived at the conviction that the ways of 
God, as revealed in the Bible, are in harmony with human 
reason, and I have endeavoured to illustrate this harmony: if 
this be a crime, I acknowledge myself guilty of it ; but this, 
at any rate, is a very different thing from either "making 

* Speaking of my "Theology," the reviewer in the Gosjjel Herald says it 
is a work "which, together with subsequent vohinies by the same author, 
has, we believe, done more to mould the rising ministry of the denomina- 
tion tlian any other influence that could be named." 


reason the judge" of them, oi* from " adapting them to the 
conclusions of reason." I claim to institute as candid and 
impartial an examination of divine revelation as its supreme 
authority demands, and as if I held no opinion at all respect- 
ing its relation to human reason ; and then, if afterwards I 
find them in harmony, I say so. Now I think the fair way 
of meeting me on this point is, not to say, "You make reason 
the judge of revelation," which, indeed, is untrue ; but to 
enter with me on an unembarrassed consideration of revela- 
tion itself, leaving it afterwards to appear whether anything 
contrary to reason has been elicited from it. 

As the reviewer probably refers to my work entitled "The 
Hai-mony of Religious Truth and Human Reason," published 
in 1832, and (I am sorry to say) not now in print,'"' I will 
liere make a short extract from it, which will serve to show 
at once the groimd which I took at that early period of my 
career as a theological writer, and its identity with that 
which I now occupy : — 

"I do not mean that religious truth consists of nothing more than 
the dictates of human reason, or that reason is a sufficient guide to 
the acquisition and discovery of it. The absolute necessity and 
inestimable value of divine revelation I hold as fundamental princi- 
ples ; and maintain only that the truths of religion, being discovered, 
approve themselves to our reason, and harmonize with the common 
sense of mankind. " — Works, vol. i., p. 185. 



Among the topics which my reviewers have noticed, the 
first is naturally the federal headship of Adam. 

My reviewer in the Primitive Church Magazine introduces 
his remarks on this subject with a flourish of trumpets after 
the following fashion :■ — 

" Mr. Hinton having apparently set himself to the task of reconcil- 
ing the administrations of God towards man with some cherished 

* This work appears in Yol. I. of the present series. 


conclusions of reason, he has, in frequent instances, involved himself 
in difficulties and confusion from which no amount of mere theorizing 
can ever deliver him. His laboured attempt to 'explain away' the 
doctrine of the federal headship of Adam is one of these, and we 
sincerely regret to be obliged to state that we have never met with a 
more signal faUure on the part of a confessedlj'^ able man." 

To thLs premature vaunt I reply ouly in the 'words of 
ancient wisdom, "Let not him that girdeth on his harness 
boast himself as he that putteth it off" (i Kings xx. ii). 

Of my views on this subject my reviewer in the Gospel 
Herald, with greater faii'ness, gives the following summary : — 

"Mr. Hinton's idea of the 'proximate cause,' or immediate occasion, 
of redemption may be thus ex^jressed. Adam was constituted the 
federal head of his posterity in such a manner that they were 
prospectively involved in the residts of his probation, whatever they 
might be. The threatening denounced against our first parents 
included natural, spiritual, and eternal death ; and accordingly, when 
they fell, such was their doom, and that of their posterity. But, 
immediately upon Adam's transgression, the covenant of Eden was 
suftpended by the introduction of a new element — the bringing in of a 
new dispensation — that of divine mercy, under which aU his posterity 
are placed. 

"This is, we think (the reviewer continues), a fair representation 
of Mr. Hinton's system on this subject, and it will be seen that it 
involves the following things : 1st. 'That the Eden covenant has now 
no existence in regard to any portion or any individual of mankind. 
Mr. H. calls it ' an abolished system. ' 2nd. That mankind are not, 
as is generally believed, subject to death on account of Adam's sin, 
whether natiu-al, moral, or penal death. 3rd. That mankind are 
placed under a new and personal probation, having no reference 
whatever to Adam's transgression." 

This "representation of Mr. Hinton's system," although 
doubtless fairly intended, is not perfectly accurate. 

I. I have given no sanction to the use of the word 
" posterity," as it is twice employed in this passage. In the 
fii'st case my reviewer makes me say tliat Adam was "the 
federal head of his posterity ;'' whereas what I have really 
said is that Adam was "the federal head of his race'^ 
("Lectures," p. 325). The meaning is very different. The 
human race did not necessarily imply ])osterity ; it might 
have consisted of its first two members only. In the second 
instance, my reviewer makes me say that, when our first 
parents fell, natui-al, spiritual, and eternal death constituted 
not only their doom, but "that of their posterity:'''' that of 
the race, if the reviewer pleases, but not that of a posterity, 
which, according to my view of the covenant, was, contin- 
gently on transgression, to have no existence. 


2. It is, perhaps, by a typographical error that the 
reviewer represents me as saying that "the covenant of 
Eden was suspended by the introduction of a new element." 
What I have said is that the covenant of Eden was super- 
seded. Whether there is much difference between the two 
my reader shall judge for himself; but I like my own word 
better than that which the reviewer has put in my mouth. _ 

3. The second inference drawn by the reviewer from his 
statement does not correctly express my meaning. It is 
"that man is not, as is generally believed, subject to death 
on account of Adam's sin, whether natural, moral, or penal'' 
death." Now my idea is, and I am sorry if I have not 
stated it with sufficient plainness, that mankind are subject 
to natural and moral death "on account of Adam's sin." 
On this point my reviewer evidently misunderstands me.^ I 
have said, indeed, that these results of the "original sin" 
are permitted to remain under the new system; but this 
rather presupposes than negatives their introduction by that 
sin, and affords small ground for saying, as my reviewer 
does, that I represent them as "sovereign appointments" of 

"We will first examine," says my reviewer in the Herald, "upon 
what groimd Mr. Hinton contends for the repeal of the Eden covenant. 
Surely the ground must be very linn to bear so weighty a superstruc- 
ture as the abrogation of an entire dispensation. It will scarcely be 
credited by some that it entirely rests on the words, ' In the day that 
thou eatest thou shalt surely die.' This language, Mr. Hinton con- 
tends, means that Adam was threatened with immediate corporeal 
death m case of transgression; and that, if this threat had been 
strictly carried out, he would not have existed an hourf after his fall, 
and consequently his posterity woiUd have had no existence; but 
seeinc' that he did live, and had a posterity, the threatening was no < 
executed, which could only be by the Eden covenant, of which it 
forms a part, being altogether repealed, both as regards himself and 
his posterity." 

On this statement of my views we have the following 
remarks : — 

"Nothing in our view can be clearer, from the whole tenor of the 
Old Testament, than that the words 'in the day' are commonly 
employed to denote a continuous, and often a long, period. How often, 
for instance, in the iirophetical writings, is the phrase employed to set 

* This, of course, is a misprint for eternal. _ 

t This phraseology is not mine. Its exaggerated character indicates a 
little of the controversial spirit. 


forth the entire Gospel dispensation, or a period during which various 
successive events referred to sliould transpire! In fact, such is its 
frequent acceptation in our own and other languages. Had the self- 
same day of twenty-four hours been intended, the Hebrew would 
have been the same as in tliose passages where such a meaning is 
evidently reqi\ired, as in Gen. vii. 11, 13. Whereas in this case the 
Hebrew is different, being the same as others in which a continuous 
jjeriod is clearly conveyed." 

In the Appendix to my " Lectures"* I have dealt so fully 
with the critical argument as brought forward by Dr. Payne, 
that I may, perhaps, here beg the favour of a reference to it. 
I add in this place only a few words. My reviewer says, 
" Had the selfsame day of twenty -four hours been intended, 
the Hebrew would have been the same as in those passages 
where such a meaning is evidently required, as in Gen. vii. 
1 1, 13." Let a glance, then, be taken at these passages. 

Genesis vii. 11. "In the six hundredth year of Noah's 
life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the 
month, in that day were the fountains of the great deep 
broken up." 

Now to me it is obvious that the phrase " in that day" is 
hei'e specially required by the construction of the sentence in 
which it occurs, and that the word '' that^'' which forms a 
j)art of it. has the force of the relative pronoun. The phrase 
" in that day" means, not in a day of twenty-four hours, but 
in the particular day which had just been named " in the six 
hundredth year of Noah's life." 

Genesis vii. 13. " /rt the selfsame day entered Noah, and 
Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's 
wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the 
ark ; they, and every beast after his kind," &c. In this case 
there is evidently another idea conveyed. The meaning is, 
not that all these entered into the ark in a day of twenty- 
four hours, but that they all entered into it in one and the 
same day; the phrase '■^ the selfsame" having the force of an 

It is clear, therefore, that the phrases used in these 
passages are not the Hebrew form for expi'cssing a day of 
twenty-four hours, and that there is, consequently, no reason 
why the phrase in Gen. ii. 17 should be similar to them. 
Whether the Hebi-ew in this place is the same as that " in 

* This Appendix is now placed as a Note at the end of this chapter. 


which a continuous period is clearly conveyed," might have 
been more easily ascertained if an example or two had been 
given ; but I ventui'e to lay it down as a rule, of which I 
challenge the investigation, that the simple phrase " in the 
day" will never be found to denote "a continuous period," 
unless there be something in the context to indicate this 
meaning, which in Gen. ii. 1 7 there is not. 

Ignoring the critical argument as " a mere logomachy," my 
reviewer in the Primitive Church Magazine argues generally 
as follows: — 

"Mr. Hinton is singularly iinliappy ia his attempt to prove that 
the immediate iufliction of the penalty of death upon Adam's body 
was intended by the threatening ' in the day that thou eatest thereof 
thou shalt surely die ; ' and that the penalty was not so inflicted iu 
consequence of the repeal of the covenant of Eden. His nbject in 
this mode of arguing is to overthrow the contiiiuou-s federal headship 
of Adam, and to infer support to his favourite dogma that none of 
Adam's posterity would ever come under the curse of that federal 
covenant. To say the least, his view of the penalty is low and 
grovelling ; he confines it almost entirely to the bodj' of Adam, to the 
great neglect of its higher and more awful significance. He forgets 
his own admission (pj). G, 7), that the penalty took place upon Adam 
immediatebj ; hence his guilty dread at the ajiproach of God, his vain 
and imbecile attempt to hide himself from his Maker, and his readi- 
ness to transfer the guilt of his own transgression to her whom it was 
his duty to screen and protect. Every noble principle of his nature 
had evidently departed, and to all that was good and holy he was 
alreadj' dead. The death of the body Avas but the effect of that of 
the soul; and Mr. H. requires not to be told that, though effects 
follow their causes with a dread and direful certainty, yet, in the 
moral government of God, they frequently follow at a great distance." 

My re^dewer does not speak accurately in saying I have 
attempted to pi'ove "that the immediate infliction of the 
penalty of death upon Adam's body was intended by the 
threatening." What I have said is that the threatening, as 
a whole, including natural, spiritual, and eternal death, was 
to be executed " in the day" when transgi'ession was com- 
mitted. My reviewer seems to think that, because I admit 
spiritiial death to have occun-ed immediatehj after transgres- 
sion, I ought either to hold natural death to be of equally 
immediate occurrence, which it was not, or to allow for it an 
indefinite peidod. I do not feel myself shut up to this alter- 
native. The language of the threatening is, '■'■in the day ;" 
and I abide by it — I think safely. 

When my rcAdewer says that my " view of the jienalty is 


low and grovelling, confined almost entirely to the body of 
Adam, to the great neglect of its liiglier and more awful 
significance," he evidently writes under an impi-ession that I 
have laid a peculiar stress npon Adam's natural death. I 
am at a loss to conjecture from whence this impression can 
have been derived. Doubtless, the entire threatening, in my 
view, stood for fulfilment in that day, but not the death of 
the body only. What my reviewer means when he says 
that "the death of the body was but the effect of that of 
the soul," I must frankly confess I do not understand; or 
why, if moral corruption has an adaptation to kill the body, 
it should be nearly a thousand yeai's in doing its work. I 
rest in the scriptural representation that death to the race 
was the direct consequence of Adam's sin. 

I now notice an argument of my reviewer in the Gospel 
Herald, in the following terms : — 

"Now it will be seen that, upon this system, the Eden covenant 
was made only to be rejiealed immediately on occasion arising for its 
enforcement ! It had thus no substantive existence at all, for the 
consequences that followed upon Adam's transgression are, according 
to Mr. Hinton, no parts of its threatening, but the elements of a new 
dispensation. We maintain, then, that in the suspension or abolition 
of the Adamic covenant, which Mr. Hinton contends for, he has set 
aside that covenant, and the federal headship of Adani, altogether. 
All that Mr. Hinton's system contains is a command given, and its 
being broken; all the consequences that follow arise, not from the 
command being broken, but from something altogether new and dif- 
ferent, viz. , from the transgressor being placed under a new probation, 
in which some of the elements of the abolished system are retained. 
Could Mr. Hinton have done more, had he aimed to prove the Eden 
covenant to be a mere figment of the imagination, and a delusion 
altogether ? What covenant can that be that never comes into force, 
even when occasion arises to reqviire it? and what federal headship) 
can that be, that entails no consequences whatever on those who are 
comprehended under it?" 

My reviewer has here wi-itten as if the Eden covenant 
was framed with the single purpose of punishing transgres- 
sion, overlooking what was assuredly its other, and more 
benign aspect, its intention to reward obedience. He argues 
that, if the curse was not inflicted, the covenant could never 
come into force, there being, he thinks, no other possible 
occasion than sin to require it; and that, if a federal head- 
ship entails no calamity, it entails " no consequences what- 
ever." Did he at the moment forget — for I cannot suppose 
him ignorant — that another occasion might have arisen to 


bring tlie covenant into force, namely, the fulfilment of the 
precept; and that the federal headship would then have 
entailed lai-ge blessings, although no calamities 1 

Even this fallacious conclusion, however, my reviewer 
draws from inaccurate premises. "The consequences that 
followed upon Adam's transgression," says he, " are, accord- 
ing to Mr. Hinton, no parts of the threatening, but the 
elements of a new dispensation." Some injustice is done to 
me here. In the first place, I have nowhere said that death 
and moral corruption (" the consequences that followed upon 
Adam's transgression") are " the elements of a new dispen- 
sation." It is quite a different thing, I think, to say that 
they are '^elements of a new dispensation," — some among 
many, minor and subordinate elements connected with 
greater and more leading ones. In the second place, I have 
nowhere said that death and moral corruption were "no 
parts of the threatening." On the contrary, I have distinctly 
maintained that they loere " parts of the threatening," and 
that they ensued under it ; only that they were not, like the 
liability to eternal death, done away by the dispensation of 
mercy, but in sovereign wisdom retained, as "elements of 
the abolished system" congruous with the probationaiy 
design of the new. The Eden covenant, therefore, accord- 
ing to my view, did come into force, even with respect to 
punishment, and the federal headship did entail calamity. 

My reviewer in the Frhnitive Church Magazine argues 
against my view on this jjoint, as " weakening in no mean 
degree the claims of the covenant of Christ as a system of 
pure mercy to our world." 

"Where," says he, "it may very properly be asked, is there a 
single passage in the whole compass of revelation that warrants this 
imputation ? Where are we instructed to believe that ' the dispensa- 
tion of divine mercy, through Jesus Christ' (p. 329), has received into 
its scheme of operation 'death and moral corruption,' &c., as 'ele- 
ments of trial, fitly grafted on' the Gospel of the grace of God ? It is 
utterly impossible, on the face of it, tliat a system of pure mercy 
should have imported into its own circle of action, and employed as 
elements of its own triumphs over the powers of darkness, the very 
evils which it exists to destroy. 'I am come,' said the blessed 
Saviour, ' that tliey might have hfe, and that they might have it 
more abundantly.' Of him it is emphatically declared that he 'hath 
abolished death, and broiight life and iuimortahty to light.' He an- 
nounced his purpose in the sublime projjhecy — '0 Death, I will be 
thy plagues ! O Grave, I will be thy destruction ! ' That, notwith- 
standing these, and a large number of simdar declarations, to assert 



that the Saviour employs in his holy system, as ' elements of trial,' 
the death and corrui)tion which he came purposely to destroy, is to 
maintain a plain contradiction, and to broach a doctrine for which 
there exists not a shadow of scriptural proof. In truth, a doctrine 
more Antinomian in its tendency could scarcely be conceived, and it 
would require but slight dexterity to turn it into the service of men 
who 'continue in sin that grace may abound.' For if the great 
Saviour admits into his system of mercy 'moral corruption,' which is 
sin, as 'congruous with its nature and design,' surely it cannot be 
wrong for a man to indulge in that 'congruity,' when, according to 
Mr. Hinton, he can plead the divine example for his justification." 

The last tlii-ust made at me in this passage I would at 
once acknowledge to be, not only a serious, but a fatal one, 
if I felt that I was fliirly open to it. Undoubtedly, the 
Saviour does not emjiloy sin for the glory of his grace. I 
have never said, however, that "moral corruption" is sin. 
My reviewer says so, and argues accordingly; but I deny his 
premises, and feel no force in his conclusion. Undoubtedly, 
the phrase "moral corruption" may be used in a sense 
entirely synonymous with sin ; but this is not necessary, and 
I have been careful to guard my use of the phrase by another 
which shows that this is not my meaning in employing it. 
In a passage which is c^uoted by this reviewer, I speak of 
"the moral corruption, or bias to evil, inherited from Adam." 
Our moral nature suffered a mischief by Adam's transgi-es- 
sion. The race became prone to sin ; there was in it thence- 
forth a bias to evil, a fact which I have expressed by the 
equivalent phrase, moral corruption. Now a bias to evil, in 
my conception of it, is not sin, or sinful, since it implies 
neither action nor volition ; it is a condition of our moral 
being tending to the production of sin, and requiring appi'o- 
priate restraint — no more. And as such it is, I conceive, 
not incongruous with a state of moral probation. 

My reviewer, j^erhaps, may be unwilling at first to give 
lip his position that moral corruption is sin, because of the 
valuable service wdiich it seems here to render him ; but I 
ventui'e to ask him whether, upon consideration, he will be 
able to retain it. That which we are speaking of, whatever 
may be its best definition, was inflicted by God as part of 
the punishment of Adam's sin, and as such it fell on the 
whole human race. Is it possible to conceive that a holy- 
God could, even as a 2:)unishment, make a being sinful? nay, 
make a tohole race sinful? I leave that question for calm 
and devout thought. 


The sting thus taken out of the passage under considera- 
tion, the rest will be disposed of with comparative ease. 
" It is utterly impossible on the face of it," says my reviewer, 
" that a system of pure mercy should have imported into its 
own circle of action, and employed, as elements of its own 
triumphs over the powers of darkness, the very evils which 
it exists to destroy." On which I remark— First, that cleath 
and corruption do actually exist under the dispensation of 
mercy, and, if the Divine Author of that dispensation has 
not " imported them into its circle of action," I will thank 
my reviewer to say how they got there. Secondly, that it is 
hardly a fair representation of the dispensation of mercy to 
say that death and coriiiption are " the very evils ivhich it 
exists to destroy." There is surely a larger view to be taken 
of the dispensation of mercy than this. Thirdly, that the 
new dispensation is not accurately described when it is called 
" a system of ^«ire mercy." What may be the reviewer's 
exact idea I do not know; but I conceive the new system to 
be a dispensation of jyrohationary mercy, containing grand 
elements of responsibility and judgment, as well as of over- 
flowing "race, and involving the ultimate infliction of wrath, 
as welf as the gift of eternal life. In such a system I cannot 
yet see that death, with the entire mass of physical suff"ering 
of which the term is representative, and corruption, or the 
bias to evil, inherited from Adam, are incongruous elements. 
My reviewer jn-oceeds : — " INIr. Hinton appears to thiuk 
that a federal covenant which inflicts punishment by the 
imputation of guilt contracted by the head, is ' revoltingly 
in contrast with the wisdom and goodness of God,' p. 330." 

Whoever will take the trouble to refer to p. 330 of my 
*' Lectures," will see that I have said no such thing. What 
I have said is, that, if the Eden covenant had resulted 
actually in the everlasting perdition of the whole race of 
man, in its umiumbered multitudes, such a result would have 
been " revoltingly in contrast with the wisdom and goodness 
of God." Even my reviewer does not say that he thinks 
otherwise; he only says that " God will take care of his own 
character," a remark' in which I perfectly agree with him, 
but that is no reason why we should suiTound it with diffi- 
culties alike unscriptural and unnecessary. 
He further argues thus : — 

"Mr. Hinton should remember that, if federal government he right 
at all (and this he admits more or less directly), it is right to its most 


distant issues, and that no check whatever put upon its remote conse- 
c^uences, whether here or hereafter, can change in the slightest degree 
the moral character of the institute itself. If any of those remote 
consequences are wrong, it is because the constituted arrangement is 
■WTong, and the cure should be applied at the heart, and not at the 
distant extremities. But is Mr. Hinton prepared to maintain the nar- 
row doctrine, and to support it with equally narrow logic, that the 
federal covenant of Adam was so ' revoltingly in contrast with the 
wisdom and goodness of God,' that it required to be terminated in its 
issues with Adam himself as the original transgressor?" 

My reviewer goes on to say on my behalf, tliat Mr. Hinton 
"means this, or he means just notliing." I do not, however, 
"mean this." I have nowhere cast a shadow of imputation, 
either on the righteousness of federal government in general, 
or on the excellence of the federal arrangement with our 
first parent in particular ; nor have I anywhere intimated an 
opinion that " it required^'' on any accidental ground, " to be 
terminated in its issues with Adam himself" What I have 
said is, that the covenant with Adam was originally so con- 
stituted by its Author, that, if Adam broke it, he should 
have no posterity. There was no occasion, therefore, that it 
should be terminated otherwise than according to its proper 
tenor. According to my view, it never was a part of the 
covenant that an immense posterity should be eternally 
miserable for their first father's sua. How could it be so, 
when its constitution was such that, in case of disobedience, 
no posterity should exist % 

" The covenant of Eden," says my reviewer, " like that of 
grace, must be taken as a ivhole, or rejected as a tvhole. . . . 
If the covenant of Eden be accepted as a whole (and who 
may break it into parts 1) Mr. Hinton's theory crumbles 
into dust." That the covenant of Eden must be taken as a 
whole, I admit ; the only question between me and my re- 
viewer is, what is tlie whole of that covenant 1 He evidently 
thinks that it contained a provision entailing, in case of 
Adam's disobedience, eternal misery \\])0\i a lengthened, and 
all but innumerable, posterity; while I, on the contrary, 
think that an arrangement was included in it by which, in 
case of disobedience, no posterity should come into being. 
According to my view of the covenant, I as truly take it as 
a whole as he does. 

"If it be true," my reviewer goes on to say, "that 'in 
Adam all die,' it remains with Mr. Hinton to demonstrate 


that the actiial results of the covenant of Eden have not 
passed upon all men." It is undoubtedly true "that in 
Adam all die," and that in this respect one actual result of 
the covenant of Eden has passed upon all men. Will my 
reviewer establish on scripture testimony the assei-tion that 
in Adam all are for ever lost 1 This would end the contro- 
versy at once. He asks, indeed, " Can there be results more 
comprehensive, or more universal, than that ' in Adam all 
die'l" Not "more universal," certainly, hut " more com- 
prehensive" results I think there may be. The words are 
taken from i Cor. xv, 22, where the subject on which the 
apostle is treating is the resurrection, and where death, 
therefore, must be understood in its strict and ordinary sense, 
and not in such a latitude as to comprehend all the threatened 
results of disobedience under the covenant of Eden. 

"Deny or limit 'the actual results' of that covenant," 
continues my reviewer, " and then on no known principle 
can we account for punishment apart from personal trans- 
gression." My answer to this is, that I neither deny nor 
limit " the actual results" of the Eden covenant. I fully 
admit that they accrued to the persons on whom the cove- 
nant entailed them ; I only maintain that the covenant did 
not entail them as " actual results" on a multitudinous pos- 
terity, which, according to its tenor, were, on the contingency 
of transgression, not to exist. 

An important part of the argument in relation to the 
Adamic covenant, is the passage in the ejjistle to the 
Komans, chap. v. 12 Jin. On this subject my reviewer 
speaks as follows: — 

"If we go to Holy Scripture, we read that 'by the offence of one 
judgment came upon all men to condemnation' (Rom. v. 18); but if 
we go to Mr. Hiuton, he assures us,— 'You will clearly imderstand 
that your relation to your first parent places you under no peril of 
divine displeasure' (p. 3.32). Now, which authority are we to beheve ? 
If Mr. Hinton be right, then Paul certainlj' did not understand his 
subject ; but, if the apostle were right, then the doctrine of Mr. Hmton 
is both unscriptural and dangerous. 

"As this is the pivot on which the whole theory of Mr. Hmton 
appears to turn, om- readers will excuse a trespass on their patience by 
a more extended examination of this pai'ticvdar part. Mr. H., con- 
ceiving that a plain, straightforward, common-sense interpretation of 
Rom. V. 12, 18, 19, &c., would be fatal to his entire system, resorts to 
the 'shutting efforts' (p. 327) common to all weak theories, by attempt- 
ing a totally new exposition of that important portion of Holy Scrip- 
ture. He says—' There are two ways in which this language may 


be interpreted. It may be understood of the actual results of tbe 
covenant of Eden, on the one hand, or of its principle and tenor apart 
from its actual resiilts, on the other. Now, to understand it of the 
actual results of the covenant of Eden is in the highest degree unsatis- 
factory, not only as revoltingly in contrast with the wisdom and 
goodness of God, but as altogether inconsistent with other scriptural 
representations of the spiritual condition of mankind,' p." 330. Now, if 
this be not to darken counsel by words without knowledge, or an 
attempt to evade, by mystifying, scripture authority, we do not know 
what darkness or evasion means. Why attempt to separate between 
'the actual results of the covenant of Eden on the one hand,' and 'its 
principle and tenor apart from its results,'' on the other? What end, 
save that of mystification, can such a process serve? What but a 
system of 'subterfuges' (p. 327) would require to separate what the 
government of God has so clearly joined together?" 

I am not careful to clear myself from the imputations here 
cast on the simplicity of my motives, of which, I am thankful 
to recollect, my reviewer is not the judge; nor am I at all 
disposed to resent the use of some hard words, which, I per- 
ceive, are culled from my own images, and which I deserve, 
pei'haps, to have thus thrown back in my teeth. It is true, 
no doubt, that such an interpretation of Romans v. as my 
reviewer calls " plain and straightforward" would be fatal to 
my doctrinal scheme; I ought not, however, for that reason 
to eschew it. I do, iu fact, take a totally different ground, 
and say that the passage cannot be so interpreted consistently 
with other passages of Scripture. In immediate continuation 
of the passage which the reviewer quotes, I speak thus : — 
"According to the same apostle, in the same letter, 'the 
wrath of God is revealed,' but it is 'against all ungodliness 
and unrighteousness of men' (ch. i. i8), not against men as 
fallen in their first parent. In the second chapter he lays it 
down as a first prmciple, that God ' will render to eveiy man 
according to his deeds' (ch. ii. 6, ii). It is quite obvious 
that, in their absolute and unqualified sense, the passages 
thus cited contradict those in the fifth chapter, and that, con- 
sequently, they cannot both be in such sense true. If men 
are to be judged by their own works, it is perfectly clear that 
they cannot be condemned for the sin of Adam. Driven 
from this mode of interpretation, therefore, we have of neces- 
sity recourse to the other" (" Lectures," p. 330). I ought, 
perhaps, to apologize to my i-eaders for this extract from my 
own volume ; but I have deemed it necessary to repeat the 
answer which was thus given by anticipation to the questions 


here so triumphantly asked by the reviewer, but an answer 
of which he omits all notice — conveniently for himself, no 
doubt, but surely not with justice, either to his readers or 
to me. I now ask him pointedly, whether, in the face of 
this difficulty, he can, or does, take Rom. v. 12, 18, in an 
absolute and unqualified, or in what he calls a " plain and 
straightforward," sense 1 If he does, I then ask him how he 
understands Rom. ii. 6, ill If he does not, I ask him, 
finally, how, with a good conscience, he can employ Rom, v. 
12, 18 against me 1 

It appears to me, that the place in the epistle which is 
occupied by the passage in question, demonstrates that it is 
not to be understood as descriptive of the ruined condition 
of mankind. In the natural order of thought, the exposition 
of the iiiined condition of mankind would come to be first 
expounded, before the opening of the method of deliverance 
from it. And such is the fact; the whole of the epistle, 
from the commencement of the argument in chap. i. 16 to 
the exposition of the Gospel in chap. iii. 20, being devoted to 
a detailed statement of human iniquity as equally involving 
Jew and Gentile, and a solemn announcement of "the day 
when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ." 
Now, if in reality a principal part, or any part, of the iniin 
of mankind consisted in a liability to eternal perdition on 
account of Adam's transgi-ession, is it not remarkable that, 
in so full and so elaborate a development of the subject, no 
notice whatever should have been taken of this particular? 
Throucrhout his whole argument Paul is as silent on it as if 
Adam had never existed. That he treats of the federal head- 
ship sustained by the tii-st parent of our race in the latter 
part of the fifth chapter, is true; but he has then got far 
beyond the condition of ruin : he has expatiated, through the 
latter part of the third chapter and the whole of the fourth, 
on the method by which God " might be just, and the justi- 
fier of him who believeth in Jesus," and through more than 
half the fifth chapter he has hixuriated in setting forth the 
haj^piness of "being justified by faith:" is it to be supposed 
that he now returns to man's condition of misery and ruin, 
and makes a fragmentary and dislocated adtlition to a 
description already so complete? 

Nothing could be less l^ke Paul as a writer than this. 
And, in truth, the manner in which he introduces the sub- 


ject makes it plain that his object is entii-ely different. He 
wants an illustration of the irnaciple of the work of redemp- 
tion, and he derives one from the lyrinciple of the covenant of 
Eden. He begins, therefore, not by way of statement, but 
of comparison, thus: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered 
into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon 
all men, for that all have sinned;" (resuming, after a paren- 
thetical explanation of five verses) " therefore, as by the 
offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, 
even so by the i-ighteousness of one the free gift came upon 
all men to justification of life." 

It may be said that such a comparison implies the truth 
of the facts stated, as otherwise no proper foundation for the 
comparison would exist. The reply to this is, that the facts, 
so far as they are referred to by the apostle, are true. It 
might seem that the phrase, "by the offence of one judgment 
came upon all men to condemnation," would include the en- 
tire contents of the Eden threatening — natural, spii'itual, and 
eternal death : when the whole passage is examined, however, 
it becomes manifest that the apostle is referring to natural 
death exclusively, and that he contemplates nothing beyond 
it. This is admitted by one of my reviewers to be the case 
in the early part of it — " By one man sin entered into the 
world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men " 
— and there is no warrant whatever for giving a greater 
extension to the latter. 

In confirmation of this view, a reference may not unsuit- 
ably be made to the method of apostolic preaching, which, to 
a considerable extent, is laid open to us in the book of Acts, 
and which would naturally display to us the grounds on which 
the apostles represented the condition of their hearers as one 
of guilt and danger. Now it is observable, that not in a 
single instance do they exhibit mankind as lost through 
Adam. Certainly not in Peter's discourse on the day of 
Pentecost, i-ecorded in Acts ii. ; nor in that of Peter and 
John, recoi'ded in Acts iii. (see ver. 1 9) ; nor in that of Peter 
to Cornelius and his friends, recorded in Acts x. ; nor in that 
of Paul at Antioch, recorded in Acts xiii. (see ver. 38, 39); 
nor in that of Paul at Athens, recorded in Acts xvii. ; nor in 
that of Paul to the Jews at Pome, recorded in Acts xxviii. 
Is it not strange that, if all maiikind ai-e subject to eternal 
perdition for Adam's sin, these inspired preachers of the 


Oospel never once announced to their lieai*ers, jewisli or 
pagan, so serious a fact, or said a single word explanatory of 
the relation to it of the gi-eat salvation which they preached] 


In a note to his Congi'egational Lectures (Note B, p. 406), Dr. 
Payne has been kind enough to examine my views in relation to the 
Adamic covenant, as he found them stated in my "Harmony of 
Keligious Truth" (Works, vol. i). And he brings against them two 
objections, to which I avail myself of this opportiuiity of replying. 

One of these objections is critical, the other argumentative. 

The critical objection is thus stated: — "Mr. Hiuton has no right to 
assume, as he does, as if the point could not be disputed, that the 
words 'in the day' necessarily mean 'the re/7/ 'l^v/ 'the same day,' 
&c. This latter idea, as the text states, is indicated by a different 

Now, it is true that I did not mtroduce Hebrew criticism into my 
volume of popular Essays. Let me be forgiven; I will endeavour to 
]>ay due attention to it now. 

Referring, then, to the text of Dr. Payne's Lecture, I find the 
following words: "The main truth taught by the words 'lu the day 
that thou eatest thereof thou shaft surely die, ' is certain legal liability 
to death. They do not imply, as at first sight they appear to do, the 
infliction of the sentence at the very moment of ti-ansgression, but 
instant and necessary exposure to its intiictiou," p. 59. 

And Dr. Payne strengthens his position bj^ a note taken from 
Holden's "Dissertation on the Fall of Man," to the following purport : 
"The declaration, 'In the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely die,' 
does not mean that death should be inflicted on the selfsame day in 
which the offence was committed, but that they should t/icn be sub- 
ject to death ; that the sentence of death should be executed at the 

time appointed by their Creator. It is not said ntH DV^i or J^trT 

DVn D2i^Zl) '« if'd'i <-lny, or In that same day, but simply Di"*^, «'i 

that [tlie] day; and the word day is sometimes used in Scripture 
generally for an indefinite time, as may be seen in the lexicons," 
p. 20. 

I will examine the points here brought forward in the order in 
which they present themselves to me. 

L " The word day is sometimes used in Scripture generally for an 
indefinite time." Perhaps so : but, wherever this is the case, there is, 
no doubt, some evidence of it ; and there is no evidence of such a use 
of the word in the passage before lis. None is either adduced, or pre- 
tended, by the critics themselves. 

2. "It is not said TTsU DVl, or nTIl DTH U^V"!, in that day, 

or in that same day, but simply QV^, '« that [the] day." Now, it 



strikes me, that all the difference that exists among these phrases is, 
that one is more emphatic than another; in their ?3iea»;n(/ I cannot 
see that there is any difference at all. 

3. The phrases here cited, in that day, and in the selfsame day, 
occur in Genesis vii. Tlie first of them in ver. 11: "In the six 
hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, in the seven- 
teenth day of the month, in that day were all the fountains of the 
great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." 

The second phrase occurs in ver. 13 : " /« tJie selfsame day entered 
Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and 
Noali's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark ; 
they, and every beast after his kind, " &c. 

Now it is manifest, I think, that in both these instances, the con- 
nexion requires the emphatic plirases employed, in order to convey 
the meaning of the writer. In chap. ii. 17, there is no such necessity, 
the meaning being fully conveyed by the simple expression, in the day. 

4. If, however, QV^, in the day, does not mean in the same day, I 

ask, What does it mean? None of the critics have assigned any other 
meaning to it. Does it mean, some other day, about that day, or a 
tliousand years aftenvards ? I find no answer to this question. 

5. In point of fact, both the critics assign the same meaning to it 
as myself, namely, in tliat day. Thiis Holden^ " that they should 
then 1)6 subject' to death." And Dr. Payne— not instant death, "but 
instant . . . exposure to its infliction." It thus appears that 
there is no diflerence between myself and them as to the meaning of 
the phrase in the day, but only in relation to the threatening "thou 
shalt die." Whatever this means, they hold it to have ensued in that 
day, as distinctly as I do. 

6. In further illustration, Dr. Payne refers to the case of Shimei, 
to whom Solomon said — "On the day thou goest out, and passest 
over the brook Kidron, thou shalt know for certain that thou shalt 
surely die" (1 Kings ii. 37). Dr. Payne argues that the meaning of 
this menace was, not that Shimei should be slain on the day of his 
leaving Jerusalem, but that on that day his life should be forfeited. 
This, however, is quite beside the mark ; for, whatever was the mean- 
ing of the words "thou shalt die," they were, by the doctor's own 
showing, to take effect "on the day" of his leaving Jerusalem. I 
confess my own suspicion, too, that Solomon would have slain Shimei 
on that day, if he could have caught him. 

7. It is the more remarkable that Dr. Payne should object to my 
vmderstanding of the phrase, in the day, because, in the sense in which 
he takes the threatening thou shalt die, it is the only meaning which 
can, by any possibility, be assigned to it. If the evil intended had 
been literally death, there might have been some excuse, imder the 
circumstances of Adam's continued life, for understanding the phrase, 
in the day, of some other day, and not of the selfsame day; but Dr. 
Payne says that the threatening, ^^ thou shalt die," meant, thy life 
shall be forfeited. I ask, then, when could this have happened, but 
in the day — the selfsame day — in which the transgression was com- 
mitted ? 

So much for the critical objection, now for the argumentative one. 


I have stated my opinion that Adam, in case of his transgression, 
would have had no posterity ; and I have at the same time admitted 
that his posterity, as now existing, suiier evils which are consequences 
of his transgression, and would be liable to the curse itself but for the 
interposition of divine mercy by Christ. These statements, according 
to l)r. Payne, are so directly oi)posed to one another as to be mutually 
contradictory ; and he kindly expresses his surprise that a writer of 
so much perspicacity as he allows me to possess should not have per- 
ceived this. Duly acknowledging the compliment thus paid me, I 
will proceed to an examination of the ai-gument. 

Dr. Payne's words are as follows: "The curse attached to the 
Adamic covenant in reference to the race . . • [according to Mr, 
Hinton] was sim})ly that the race should not be ; not tliat its mem- 
bers should exist in sorrow and pain, but that they should not exist 
at all. Now, I am unable to reconcile with this certain other state- 
ments in Essay Sixth of 'The Harmony of Keligious Truth.' Mr. 
Hinton maintains truly, as I think, the 'miiversal reference' of the 
atonement. And he says, ' If there be any, whether infants or others, 
for whom Christ did not die, then they, of course, must remain under 
their first father's curse, since it is only by virtue of Christ's death 
that this ever can be remitted,' p. 281. But their first father's curse, 
so far as they are concerned in it, was, that they should not exist. 
To remain under that curse is, on this hypothesis, to remain out of 
being; but they are in being," pp. 407, 408. 

And after presenting several phases of this argument, all on the 
same principle, he sums up thus: "I particularly request the reader 
to observe the gist of my argument. It is tliis, that, if the Adamic 
covenant threatened, in case of transgression, non-existence to the 
race, it could not threaten a life of sorrow to be terminated by death ; 
that, if non-existence was to be the consequence of rebellion, the 
sorrow or depravity of the race cannot possibly be its consequence," 
p. 411. 

Nothing can be more lucid and conclusive than this argumentation, 
granting the author of it his premises ; but I think a daw exists in 
these which vitiates the whole. 

Dr. Payne represents the ncjii-existence of the race in case of Adam's 
transgi'ession to be, according to my view, " </(e curse attached to the 
Adamic covenant in reference to the race." Now, certainly, I have 
never said any such thing, nor have I ever entertained any such idea. 
When I read it here for the first time, the ascription of this concep- 
tion to me took me quite by surprise; l)ut the doctor, of course, 
thought it was implied in my views, and he reasons upon it accord- 
ingly. And I alhiw that, if it can be logically fastened upon me, 
I am worsted in this argument ; but let me attempt an explanation. 

I do not admit anything to constitute the curse of the Adamic 
covenant, but the single sentence, "In the day thou eatest thereof 
thou shalt surely die;" and this, as I have opened it in my earlier 
writings, and in the present volume, is surely curse enough. It is 
true, that other things followed the transgression, as sorrow, pain, 
and toil ; and Dr. Payne speaks of these as though they also were a 
part of the curse. But is this way of regarding the matter just? 
These elements are certainly not included in the threatening, and 


they are in fact incompatible with it ; nor is anything said of them 
nntil the whole dispensation has been manifestly altered by the 
amionncenieut and promise of a Eedeemer. If it is asked, How, 
then, came these sources of human sorrow to exist? I reply, that the 
same sovereignty which, by an interposition of mercy, superseded the 
curse, with the entire economy to wliich it belonged, was at liberty to 
associate with man's new condition such elements of disciplinary and 
probationary suffering as might seem good. There were, therefore, 
sorrows which, although consequent upon the fall, were not portions 
of the curse. 

In like manner, the non-existence of the race, which was evidently 
contingent in case of transgression, woidd have been a consequence of 
the fall, yet not contained in the curse. The curse denounced against 
Adam's posterity was identical with that denounced against himself — 
"Ye shall die:" tlieir actual non-existence in case of transgression 
would have been a collateral and incidental result, not threatened, 
althoiigh contingent, and, in fact, of most felicitous operation. 

It is to be admitted, that some things which were actually conse- 
quent on the fall were also included in the curse; as the deterioration 
of man's moral nature, and the occurrence of death. These I hold to 
Jiave been retained by divine sovereignty as permanent elements of 
man's condition, because they were deemed congruous with it as a 
condition of j'robation and discipline; but I cannot regard them as 
parts of the curse, which a merciful dispensation had wholly super- 
seded, or as processes of punishment in a state of probation, a state 
from which the idea of punishment is altogether remote. I do not 
say they are benefits ; on the contrary, I admit that they are evils, 
but I cannot admit them to be 2^enal evils. 

My reply to Dr. Payne, then, is simply this, that the Adamic cove- 
nant did not, in case of transgression, threaten non-existence to the 
race ; to them, as to their first father, it threatened death, and only 
death. The contingent non-existence of the race I hold to be an inci- 
dental result not threatened. If this is granted me, Dr. Payne's charge 
of contradiction entirely falls. If it is not, it will require to be jn-oved 
that every evil which has followed on the fall was included in the 
threatening; which, I believe, has not yet been done. Will anj^ one 
try his hand at it? 

Before concluding this note, I may say a word or two on what I 
conceive to be a very important difference between myself and Dr. 
Payne, together with the large class of writei's with whom he agrees. 
Of the threatening, "In the day that thou eatest thou shalt surely 
die," he holds the meaning to be. Thenceforth thou shalt be liable to 
death at any time, and sure to die at some time. 

Now, I do not mean to repeat here what I have said in my first 
Lecture on this interpretation of the threatening ; Init I wish, in 
addition, to ask respecting it this question — Why should a future and 
remote character be given to one of the consequences of the fall, while 
it is not given to others? 

Dr. Payne comprehends in the threatening the doom of sorrow and 
toil, and these followed transgression immediately. He includes in 
it also the forfeiture of what he calls "chartered blessings," and the 
loss of these, of course, was immediate. Why not, then, deatli also ? 


On what grouud can such a distinction be made between the several 
results of one and the same act, and results ensuing in fulfilment 
of one and the same brief threatening? Utterly without intimation 
or evidence, is it not arbitrary and unwarrantable? 

The reply to this question, of course, will be, that, although such a 
distinction is not indicated in the Mosaic narrative, the hypothesis is 
necessary in order to maintain the veracity of trod. I demur wholly 
to this assertion, and put forward the view maintained in the first 
Lecture. The hy|iothesis of Dr. Payne is not, in criticnl justice, even 
entitled to consideration, until mine is shown to be inadmissible ; 
which, I submit, is not yet done. The doctor, indeed, has made a 
strenuous effort in this dii'ection, by endeavouring to prove that my 
view is self -contradictory ; but if, as I hope, this thrust has been 
successfully parried, further examination is challenged, and awaited. 



I HAVE now to deal with one reviewer only, the writer in 
the Gospel Herald for April. Of my view on the subject in 
hand he gives the following unobjectionable summary : — 

"The fourth Lecture in this volume treats of the 'universal aspect ' 
of redemption; the fifth of 'its particular aspect.' In the former, 
Mr. Hinton aims to prove from 'presumptive evidence,' from 'facts,' 
and from 'Scrijiture language,' that redemption is for all men, and 
then, in the next Lecture, he draws upon the same sources of proof to 
show that it is for some only. But he, of course, takes care to avoid 
the palpable contradiction between these two statements, by endea- 
vouring to show that redemption is universal in one sense, and par- 
ticidar in another and a different sense. His position is simply this: 
On the one hand, Christ died for all to give to all a 'conditional hope' 
of salvation, to afford the means of a 'fresh probation,' and to mani- 
fest God's general love to mankind ; while, on the other hand, he died 
specially ./"or some to render their salvation sure, and to i)revent the 
'universal rejection of his redeeming mercy.' If we. ask which of 
these senses represents God's jxrhnarij and immediate design in re- 
demption, Mr. Hinton unhesitatingly replies, the universal sense. 
' Some, ' he says, ' maintain that the salvation of his elect was God's 
immediate purpose in redemjition ; for myself, on the contrary, I hold 
it to be secondary.^ 'The universal aspect has been supplemented by 
the particidar.' Elsewhere he calls particular redem2)tion a ' supple- 
mentary interposition,' a something 'grafted on universal redemption ;' 
' added to it, and foimded uxron it.'" 


The reviewer commences liis attack by alleging "that, 
according to this representation, particular redemption dis- 
appears altogether, leaving only universal redemption be- 

"For what, we ask, is particular in Mr. Hinton's 'particular re- 
demptinn'? To this Mr. Hinton rejjlies, 'This at least is particular 
in redemption, namely, the divine influence by which the heart is 
subdued to the reception of the Gospel. ' But this is regeneration, the 
work of the Spirit, not the redeeming work of Christ. Again, Mr. 
Hinton replies, 'The sovereign choice of some to everlasting life ; this 
is particular.' True, but this is election, not redemption. A third 
time Mr. Hinton replies to the question proposed, ' The intention of 
Christ actually to save his peoiile; this is particular.'" 

Now I complain of the last sentence in tliLs extract as not 
a fair statement of my view. "Whoever will take the trouble 
to refer to my "Lectures on Redemption," p. 367, will 
easily satisfy himself that I have not represented the particu- 
larity of the work of Christ as consisting in his " intention 
actually to save his people." My words are " for some only 
must Christ have died." And I quote two passages — John 
X. 25 : " I lay down my life for the sheep;" and Ephes. v. 25 : 
"Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it" — as 
" speaking plainly of a redeeming work unequivocally re- 
stricted." It is with obvious injustice, therefore, that the 
reviewer says afterwards : — 

"Mr. Hinton omits all reference in this treatise to the relation 
between Christ and those for whom he died. Though redemption is 
his subject, there is no mention of imputation, representation, or 
suretyship. This is significant. He is too acute a reasoner not to 
see that these ideas have no place in his system, though the Scriptures 
are full of them." 

Now, certainly, the Sci-iptures are not only not " full " of 
" imputation, representation, and suretyship " h/ name, but 
absolutely empty of them, since neither of these words occurs 
in the whole Bible. If the ideas are found there, it is as 
implied in the passages I have quoted, and in others of a 
similar tenor; and in quoting the passages as teaching "a 
redeeming work i;nequivocally restricted," I might fairly 
have been assumed to maintain the theoretical views which 
this interpretation of them supposes. Doubtless, Christ laid 
down his lifeybr his sheep as their representative and surety, 
and under the specific imputation of their iniquity. Such 
has always been my doctrinal system, and the reviewer 
merely raises a question of words. 


My reviewer now proceeds to notice tlie grounds on which 
I have advocated a universal aspect of redemption. To my 
observation that "there is a presumption m f^^„«^^;f ' ^^ 
replies curtly, that "a presumption is not a proof -admitted . 
t is howe/er, a presumption, which is all I have said of t. 
He then notices the foJts from which I have inferred the 
"hing. I have inferred it, first, from the exist^ice o 
Adam's posterity. On this he says: ' But this _ will as 
feadUy prove particular as universal redemption, since the 
elect for whom Christ died, must be brought into existence, 
lo^^^wl Ich purpose the race needs as much to be continued as 
irhldied for every individual." No doubt, the race needed 
to be ontinued; but could such a need have -cured the 
continuance of tiie race agamst the threatening of the cove- 
nant unless the dispensation of mercy had, m some .ense, 
Comprehended the ilcel I have inferred it, -«>nd y, f-m 
the lon-suffering of God towards all men On this the 
reviewex' quotes "the words of the apostle when he tells us 
thlt "the\essels of wrath" are "endured" m order to make 
kno.^'n the riches of God's glory on "the vessels ot mercy 
•The reader will scarcely need that I should quote in response 
to thircharacteristic citation the following: "Or despisest 
hou tlie riches of his goodness and fovbeaiuncg and b^^^^^ 
suifering; -t knowing that the goodi^ss^ c^ G^d ^^^^^^^^^ 
thee to repentance 5 (±tom, ii. 4-) ^ ^"^ ^^ ■ i 
thirdly, fro n the resarrectiou of all men. On this he says, 
that his event, in the case of the wicked, is " connected ^vi h, 
and in order to, theii- final judgment and condevmatwn. 
Why this is tru;: but the resurrection of tlie body, even m 
the Le of the wicked, is a triumph over death, and such a 
triumph as could not have been gained under the unmodified 
sentence of the covenant of Eden. 

On the next particular my reviewer enters into moie 

serious argument : — . 

" There ?s more force," says he, "in the conducing remark on this 

viting those for whom there is no provision ? J^^^^^ ]i™t^°^ 

for some no provision is made. , , p i e 

I congratulate myself and my reader on the fraiikness of 

this adnSssion, which I do not recollect ever to have met 


with before. "All are not invited." What, then, is the real 
character of the invitations which to so many have seemed to 
be universal ? Hear again the reviewer : — 

"The invitations of Scripture are in every case descrq^tive in their 
character ; and, though the description comes down to the lowest and 
weakest aspects of a renewed state of heart, they are nevertheless 
those which only divine grace could produce, and which, therefore, 
clearly separate their possessors from the world at large." 

" The invitations of Scripture," it is asserted, " are in 
every case descrijytive." The canon is broad, and distinctly 
laid down; but will it bear application] Let us try it on 
the great commission, on which, if anywhere, its influence 
should be manifest. "Go ye, and preach the Gospel to eveiy 
creature: he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, 
and he that belie veth not shall be damned" (Markxvi. 15, 16). 
This is, I suppose, of the nature, though not in the terms, of 
an invitation; it is, at least, a warrant for preachers of the 
Gospel to address its invitation to every human being. Here, 
however, thei-e is plainly nothing " descriptive." What was 
the tenor of our Lord's own ministiyl Judge of it from 
this declaration; "Him that cometh unto me I will in no-» 
wise cast out" (John vi. 37). Here is nothing "descriptive." 
What was the tenor of the apostolic ministry 1 Hearken to 
Peter on the day of Pentecost: " Pepent and be baptized 
eveiy one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ" (Acts ii. 38). 
Here is nothing "descriptive." Or hearken to Paul in the 
jail at Philippi : " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou 
shalt be saved" (Acts xvi. 31). Here is nothing "descrip- 
tive." What confidence can we place in a writer who, in 
the face of such decisive evidence to the contraiy, lays it 
nakedly down that " the invitations of Sci'ipture are in every 
case descrijjtive" ? Perhaps he only means that, in his judg- 
ment, they ought to be so. 

The head of direct scriptural evidence my re\'iewer treats 
at greater length : — 

"His [Mr. Hinton's] treatment of the passages of Scripture which 
bear on the subject of redemption is this. They are, he contends, of 
two classes ; some of them l^ear a universal aspect, and some a par- 
ticular aspect : let us, therefore, not strive to make the universal 
particular or the particular universal, but, taking both as they stand, 
let us find the point of harmony in the redemption itself to which 
they both refer. Let this be understood in a double sense, and both 
classes of passages are at once explained. Thus Christ died both for 
the church (Eph. v. 25), and for the world (John iii. 16) ; for the 
church in one sense, and the world in another. " 


The i-eviewer "demui-.s altogether to the plan here pro- 
pouuded for the treatment of the Word of God;" ancl he 
goes on to explain : — 

"With reference to those [texts] in which iiniversal terms are em- 
})loyed, our position is this: (1) The context and general connexion 
clearly define and restrict their meaning ; or, (2) the passages them- 
selves contain the elements of their own limitation. Under the first 
head we take those passages in which the terms ^ world,' and ^ whole 
vorkV occiu", and we find them used about one hundred times, and in 
at least six different senses, hut in nearly every instance with a rc- 
slrkted universality. In regard to the instances in which they are 
applied to redemption and salvation, the key is clearly supplied in the 
eleventh chapiter of Bomans, W"here the words ' icorld ' and ' Gentiles ' 
are used by the apostle as interchangeable terms. It is not denied 
that the Jews denominated the rest of mankind as the world, or that 
they habitually restricted the blessings of Messiah's kingdom to them- 
selves. The fact of this exclusiveness, and the need to remove it by 
express testimony as to the equal participation of the Gentiles in 
Gospel blessings, constitute a key to open every text in which the 
above terms are employed. They teach that the world diMrihutlveli/ 
€0)htidered, and not Jews only, is comprehended in the divine plan of 
redemption. The same remarks ajjply to the terms ' all ' and ' tre?-y ' 
wherever they occur, though sometimes, as in 1 Tun. ii. 4, 6, they 
also include the idea that persons of no social rank or station, as such, 
are excluded from an interest in the common salvation. But we have 
said that the passages iinder consideration themselves supply the 
means of their own limitation. Tliey compel a meaning more re- 
stricted than the terms at first sight appear to convey. For instance, 
in 1 John ii. 2, either the phrase ^thc icliole ivorhV must be limited, or 
the word j^ropifiatio)) must be altered in its meaning, since it is ol)vi- 
ous that the guilt of the whole world is )iof propitiated, or covered, bj' 
Christ, for myriads at last suffer the penalty of their own transgres- 
sions. Now the limitation of the phrase vjJiole icorld accords with the 
whole tenor of the Scriptures; not so, however, the term propitiation, 
which never signifies anything but the covering, atonement, or expia- 
tion of sin, by which the sinner is actually and really covered, and 
protected from punishment. 80 in other passages. Unless it can be 
proved that Christ has really 'ransomed,' 'saved,' 'drawn to him,' 
and ' taken away the sin' of, all that have ever lived, or ever will, the 
doctrine of universal redemption has no place in the Word of God." 

I readily admit the general justice of tlie remarks which 
the reviewer makes on the use of the terms the iDorld, and 
the whole toorld, as "teaching that the world, distributively 
considei-ed, and not the Jews only," were comprehended in 
the divine plan of redemption; and for this reason I would 
lay no stress in controversy on the following passage: "And 
he is the propitiation for oiir sins ; and not for ours only, but 
also for the sins of the whole world" (i John ii. 2). I think, 

A A 


however, it may fairly be required, that there should be 
something in the context, or in the connexion, to indicate 
this qualification of the meaning. I think, also, that there 
are instances to which the rule clearly cannot be applied. 
Let us examine John iii. 1 6 as an example ; " God so loved 
the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 
There is nothing in this passage, or in its connexion, either 
to indicate it as a fact, or to authorize it as a presumption, 
that our Lord was thinking of Jew and Gentile rather than 
of the whole human race; it is of the latter, therefore, that 
his language is fairly to be taken. Moreover, there is in the 
passage itself something that determines the jihraseology to 
this meaning. The scope and extent of the love shown is in 
the latter part of the verse clearly described : — "God so loved 
as to give his only-begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth in him should not pei-ish, but have everlasting life." 
But surely God loved his elect far more than this. Hear 
what the apostle says when he describes the love of Christ to 
the church : — " Who loved the church, and gave himself for 
it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of 
water by the word, that he might present it to himself a 
glorious church, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing" 
(Eph. V. 25, 26). Are we now to learn that God loved his 
church only to the effect that whosoever of them should 
believe should not perish 1 Is there also a part of the church, 
as seems to be implied, who will not believe, and will conse- 
quently perish 1 It appears to me, I confess, that the influ- 
ence here ascribed to the death of Christ both suggests, and 
constrains, the reference of it to the "world" in the sense of 
the whole human race. It is needless to piultiply texts ; 
since one decisive example is as good as a hundred, and since 
I cannot expect any man who is not convinced by this text 
to be convinced by any other. 

As an example of the class of Scriptures which "supply 
the means of their own limitation," my reviewer takes 
I John ii. 2 ; a passage concerning which, on a ground 
already specified, I have no controversy with him. I differ 
widely, howevei', from his conception of propitiation, which 
seems to me scripturally to denote an expiation for sin by 
which the sinner is not "actually and really covered, and 
protected from punishment," bitt only conditionally so — on 


the concUtion, that is to say, of the concurrence of the smner 
in the sacrifice offered. Does the reviewer thmk that the 
elect are "actually and really covered and protected from 
the punishment of sin while they continue m unbeliet « 

As to the last sentence in the extract, m which the re- 
viewer says, " Unless it can be proved that Christ has really 
'ransomed,' 'saved,' 'drawn to him,' and 'taken away the 
sin of,' all that have ever lived, or ever vn\\, the doctrine of 
univei-sal redemption has no place in the Word ot God — i 
have nothing to do but to quote in opposition to it tie decla- 
ration already considered: "God so loved the world that he 
gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth m him 
should not perish, but have everlasting hfe (John m. i6). 

The reviewer now proceeds to consider "m what Mr. 
Hinton's view of the universality of redemption consists. 
"Not as he tells us, in actual, but in ' jJOSSiUe salvation, m 
a 'conditional hope,' by which all who hear the Gospel ai^ 
placed in a new state of probation a« to whether they will 
accept it or not. Here," exclaims the reviewer, "are free 
will and human ability without disguise.' As to this last 
imputation, I hope all my doctrinal A-iews have at all times 
been stated "without disguise;" and I believe it is well 
known that I have, both in the pulpit and by the press, for 
nearly half a centuiy, maintained mans ability to do his 
dutv. As to " free will," I know nothing about it. I beheve 
in free agency; but "free will" is a term which I do not, 
and never could, understand. . 

" How Mr Hinton," continues the reviewer, mamtam- 

incr such a sentiment [as man's abiHty to do his duty], can 

arSue in another place that the glory of salvation is due to 

God alone, with any consistency, we know not. \^^ ^J^' 

tery, however, is easily explained. Man, bemg able to do 

his duty, will not; and God makes him wil mg.^^ ^^f ^ i ! 

that " the glory of salvation is due to God alone. i* //^^l 

said that man was willing, instead of able, I should have 

ascribed the glory to the creature. To requu-e a man to do 

what he is not able to do, seems to me to be a proceedmg 

essentially and incurably unjust; and, if the occurrence ot 

such a case be supposed, to give him ability is surely rather 

a matter of justice than of grace. The case m which grace is 

manifested is that in which a stubborn heart is exchanged 

for a willing one. 


"Besides," the reviewer goes on to say, "this 'opportunity," or 
' possibilitj', ' of salvation is a delusion, even on Mr. Hinton's own 
system; since, though men, according to his OM-n view, can turn t<> 
God, he admits thej^ never tcill until the special grace of the Holy 
Spirit overcomes their unwillingness, which makes their salvation as 
real an impossibility, aj^art from divine grace, on his principle as on 
GUI'S. Where, then, is the alleged opportunity?" 

Can it be necessaiy tliat I slioiikl demonstrate the fallacy 
of this argviment 1 At the core of it lies this axiom ; ina- 
bility and unwillingness both constitxite impossibility. Is 
this sol Let us test it by a few examples. 

An accused party is under recognizances to appear at the 
assizes, and he does not come : why 'I Either because he has 
met Avith an accident, and cannot come; or because he has 
hidden himself, and will not come. In the first of these 
cases there is impossibility ; is there so in the second 1 

A master gives an order to his servant, and it is not ful- 
filled : why 1 Either because the servant is ill, and cannot 
work; or because he is idle, and will not. In the first of 
these cases there is impossibility ; is there so in the second l 

A spendthrift is deeply in debt, and does not pay: why? 
Either because he has spent all, and cannot pay ; or becaiise, 
with projierty remaining, he secretes it, and will not. In 
the first of these cases there is impossibility ; is there so in 
the second ? 

A profligate at a gin-shop is recommended to go home, and 
he does nob: why"? Either because he is dead drunk, and 
cannot; or because he is gambling, and will not. In the 
first of these cases there is impossibility; is there so in the 
second 'I 

Cases of this sort might be multiplied without end, but it 
cannot be necessaiy that I should proceed further. ISTor can 
there be any doubt as to the answer to the question which is 
founded on them. It is clear beyond dispute that unwilling- 
ness does not constitute impossibility, and tliat in this respect 
it diifers essentially and widely from inability. But it may 
be replied, it leads to the same result. O, certainly it does 
— that never was questioned — but it does not lead to it 
through the same process; the one takes away the means of 
action, the other shows a disinclination to use them. The 
former of these only constitutes impossibility. To him who 
can do a thing but will not, it is not impossible. 

If the general cpiestion be thus determined, the theological 


case will be easily dii^posecl of. To a sinner who can come 
to Christ but will not, salvation is not impossible. To him 
opportunity of salvation really exists. It is in his own 
liands, as truly as "a price to get wisdom" is sometimes "in 
tlie hand of a fool" (Prov. xxvii. i6). 

" In conclusion," my reviewer veiy charitably suggests 
that universal redemption is, not merely "a baseless theory," 
— tluit is matter of opinion — but a theory "devised to conceal, 
or neutralize, the sovereignty" of God in the salvation of 
men. I beg leave respectfully to decline the honour thus 
intended me, of giWng me a niche in the writer's gallery of 
crafty and wicked divines. I avow before God and man — 
and no man has a riglit to challenge my assertion — that I 
have devised no theory for this or any other sinister purpose, 
but have in simplicity sought for the truth as it is in Jesus. 
I hope and believe that my reviewer does the same, although 
I could easily say something equally severe of the "theory"' 
of Hyper-Calvinism. 

With the epitome of objections with which his article 
really concludes I must deal somewhat in detail. 

"The theory of universal redemption,"' my reviewer says, "repre- 
sents Christ as giving himself a ransom for those whom lie never 
saves, for those whom he never favours even with the means of grace, 
and for those who were, even when he died for them, actually in per- 
dition. It represents him as dying for those for whom he does not 
intercede, and so makes his death more extensive than his advocacy." 

I may here i-emind the reviewer, in passing, that although 
some divines do hold the theory of universal redemption, I 
flo not. I am no Armiuian, as Ai-minians themselves very 
well know, and as all well-informed and candid Hypei'-Cal- 
"vdnists Avill i-eadily confess. I am a Calvinist, and I hold the 
doctrine of particular redemption, qualified by the opinion 
that redemption has in addition a universal aspect. I am not 
fairly chargeable, therefore, with consequences ensuing from 
the theory of universal redemption. As to the specific con- 
sequences charged iipon my view^s in the passage now quoted, 
they are at least as clearly deducible from the i6th verse of 
the 3rd chapter of John's Gospel, and I may fairly leave 
the reviewer to argue with the Divine Author of that decla- 

"Upon this principle, too,' he proceeds, "the drunkard 
and infidel may speak, without presumption, of their intei'est 


in Christ." Assuredly, in common with the whole world, of 
their conditional interest in Christ — no more. And why not 

"Nor has Satan," he continues, "any ground to fear any 
injuiy to his kingdom from the death of Christ, if those may 
and do perish for whom he died." No, not if all may and 
do perish for whom Christ died; but, if there be an elect 
multitude given by the Father to the Son, for whom, as their 
representative and surety, he laid down his life, and to whom 
he will assuredly give life eternal, then, I suppose, this con- 
sequence does not follow. 

My reviewer goes on to say: — 

"The universal doctrine places no certain saving eflScacy in the 
blood of Christ at all. The saved in heaven owe no more to it.than 
the lost in hell; they owe their salvation to something beside the 
atonement; they are not saved by it; since if it had saved them, it 
would equally have saved the lost in perdition, for whom, on the 
imiversal theory, it was equally offered." 

This is an example of consequences charged upon me to 
which my views really are not liable. To " the universal 
doctrine," indeed, or to theoretical Arminianism, they may 
attach; but on my views they have no bearing at all. The 
sentence could have been written only in forgetfulness of my 
position that Christ died for the church in one sense, and the 
world in another. 



I HAVE now to deal with my reviewer in the General Bap- 
tist Magazine, who takes up tlie argument on behalf of 
theoretical Arminianism. 

After an extended summary of my doctiinal system, the 
general accui-acy of which I fully acknowledge, he thus com- 
mences the attack : — 

"To all that is advanced in the fourth Lecture to establish the 
universal aspect of redemption, we give our cordial assent. The argu- 
ment might, jierhaps, have received further confirmation, but, as it 


stands, it leads to a conclusion which cannot be easily disproved or 
evaded. This conclusion is, the will of God to bless vi'ith salvation 
all to whom the Gospel is addressed. 

"But Mr. Hinton exhibits what he calls the Gospel under another 
and very different aspect. Whilst it is to all men a system of proba- 
tion on terms of mercy, the most gracious end and purpose designed 
by it is to place them on a '^ ground of conditional liope; ' and the issue 
is that it is rejected by all, without exception. The whole power of 
the probationary system is exhausted, the Spirit is not given in any 
mode or measure, and we cannot discover that it is the will of God 
that a single soid should be saved by it." 

My reply to tliis is, tliat, from tlie argument in which the 
reviewer so cordially agrees, I have not drawn the conclusion 
which he ascribes to me; namely, that it is " the will of God 
to bless with salvation all to whom the Gospel is addressed." 
My conclusion is, that it is the will of God to bless all men 
with salvation upon condition of their believing in Christ. 

It is nothing extraordinary that, from a probational sys- 
tem, " we cannot discover that it is the will of God that a 
single soul should be [certainly] saved." This, if at all, is to 
be learned from another source; and from a source which I 
have indicated with sufficient clearness, as will immediately 

His next tliimst is the following : — 

' ' The probationary system is succeeded, or supplemented, by another 
dispensation in favour of the elect, in which they are no longer pro- 
bationers, but beneficiaries. This is the dispensation of the Spirit, by 
the bestowment of which the will of God is infallibly carried out, and 
consummated in their salvation. 

" It is impossible to avoid this inference, \\z. , that, if the gift of the 
Spirit is an essential part of the Gosjiel dispensation, the impenitent 
cannot be guilty of rejecting it, since it was never ofifered to them: 
and, if not, the salvation of the elect is not conferred by the Gospel, 
but by something else." 

"If the gift of the Spirit," says the reviewer, "is an 
essential part of the Gospel dispensation, the impenitent 
cannot be guilty of rejecting it, since it never was offered to 
them." I do not know how to understand this passage. 
What is it that " the impenitent cannot be guilty of reject- 
ing" ] The nearest antecedent is " the Gospel dispensation," 
and if I take this, I answer, that I never heard until now 
that the impenitent were charged with rejecting "the Gospel 
dispensation." The resurrection of the body and the final 
judgment are, as I understand them, parts of " the Gospel 
dispensation;" but the impenitent are not supposed to be 


giiilty of rejecting eithei' of tliem. Impenitent sinners axx' 
charged with rejecting "the Gospel" — that is, the glad 
tidings of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ; but this is not 
the reviewer's point. 

The more remote antecedent is "the gift of the Spirit," 
and the reviewer may mean to say that " the impenitent 
cannot be guilty of rejecting" this, which certainly "was 
never offered to them." Tliis, of course, is quite true; but 
what is it to the purpose ? Their sin and ruin is that they 
reject the Gospel. 

His next position is laid down in the following terms : — 

"We are told that redemptiou does not pertain in the same sense 
to all men; and that the proof of this is found in many restrictive 
phrases of Scripture, and in the actual differences in human experi- 
ence. God gave his Son for the world, ' that whosoever believeth in 
him should not perish, but have everlasting life ; ' Christ gave himself 
for the church, 'that he might s'anctify and cleanse it, . . . and 
present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or 
any such thing.' We affirm that God has expressed his gracioiis 
design in the end and purpose of the Gospel in reference to the worlds 
as strongly as he has expressed it in reference to the church." 

If I understand this affirmation correctly, the writer 
means that God has expressed the same " gracious design in 
the end and purj^ose of the Gospel," in reference both to the 
world and the church. In proof of this position he first 
quotes John iii. 17: " God sent not his Sou into the world 
to condemn the world, but that the world through him might 
be saved." It is clear, however, that this language does not 
express a purpose of actual salvation; it is, indeed, but a 
condensed form of that which had been fully stated in the 
preceding verse — "that whosoever believeth in him (his Son) 
should not perish, but have everlasting life." He next quotes 
I John V. 11: "God hath given to us eternal life, and this 
life is in his Son." I suppose, however, that eternal life 
through Christ is given to mankind only through faith in his 
name, or on condition of believing in him, which brings us 
tct the same point as before. 

The divei'sity of phraseology in the two classes of texts I 
have adverted to, is explained by the reviewer in the follow- 
ing manner: — 

"If there be a difference in different texts, if what is expressed 
hypothetically when the condition is proposed is expressed positively 
when the condition is fulfilled, what is there in this to suggest a 
thought of limitation, or insincerity?" 


I cannot tell why the reviewer has here introduced the 
word "insincerity." I know that this charge applies to the 
kind of Gospel preached by those who, holding a limited 
pro\dsion, address unlimited invitations; but it surely cannot 
apply to me, who hold a real universal provision on which 
universal invitations are most sincerely founded. As to the 
reviewer's mode of reducing the two classes of texts to a 
common import, I must frankly say I do not understand it. 
I have only to wish that he had illustrated his meaning by 
an example. If he admits that a condition exists, he admits 
all that I maintain. 

The reviewer next handles the doctrine of election, and 
he handles it in the following manner : — 

"The texts quoted iu proof of the particularity of redemptiou may 
be quoted in proof of the doctriue of conditional election, as it is 
taught by Richard Watson and others. ' I lay down niy life for the 
sfuep.' 'Christ loved the church.' The sheep and the church are 
those whose faith was foreseen. It cannot be denied that foreseen 
faith had a place in the mind of Christ. ' Neither pray I for these 
alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word' 
(John xvii. 20). In Ephes. i. 4, 5, who were 'chosen,' 'predestinated,' 
'adopted?' ver. 1, the 'saints' at Ephesus, ver. 13, those who had 
•believed.' 'Whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate.' If fore- 
knowledge and predestination are identical, show us any other passages 
where the same tautology is found, as in some of those Mhere this 
word occiurs." 

I certainly cannot acquiesce in the doctrine of "condi- 
tional election." "The sheep and the church," says the 
reviewer, " are those whose faith was foreseen." How can this 
be, when, if it had not been for theii- election and its conse- 
quences, not one of them would ever have believed ? I have 
n(i inclination to regard foreknowledge and predestination as 
identical; but all that is necessary to predestination is a 
foreknowledge of persons, not of character. Undoubtedly, 
the chosen, as they become known in this world, are saints ; 
but this supplies no answer to the question whether they 
Avere chosen because it was foreseen they would be saints, or 
for some other reason. 

"Mr. Hinton," says the reviewer, "has noticed this reply. He 
has made no remarks upon the texts; his objection is that. this doc- 
trine allows to man the glory of his own salvation. But he has told 
us in so many words that man is able of himself to repent and turn 
to (4od ; that these are acts of self-government which are competent 
to man. He would have us believe that a man may be saved by 
virtue of sovereign predestination, or he may be saved without it • 


that he may be saved by the aid of the Holy Spirit, or he may be 
saved without it ! Surely he must have forgotten the precept, ' Oast 
out the beam out of thine own eye. ' ' Moses made a serpent of brass, 
and put it on a pole ; and it came to pass, that, if a serpent had bitten 
any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass he lived' (Numbers 
xxi. 9). ' Then saith he (Jesus) to the man, Stretch forth thine hand; 
and he stretched it forth, and it was restored whole like as the other' 
(Matt. xii. 13). In each of these cases there was a condition on which 
the cure was susi>ended. How much of merit was there in the fulfil- 
ment of the condition ? Eating earns nothing, but it is a condition 
on which life depends. If, in the first case, there were Israelites who 
refused to look, and who died in their obstinacy, that fact would 
prove no merit in those who looked, and lived. And if, in the second, 
strength was given to enable the man to stretch out his withered 
hand, the case is exactly analogous to that of every man who comes 
to Christ. The prodigal ^ arose and came to his father.^ He did not 
seem to be full of thoughts of his own deservings. ' Father, I have 
sinned,' 'I am no more worthy to be called thy son.' It is the duty 
of all men to believe. ' When ye have done all those things which 
are commanded of you, say. We are unprofitable servants.' At page 
399, Mr. Hiuton admits that faith does not avail for the justification 
of a sinner before God on account of any excellency in itself ; and 
in this admission he gives the most conclusive reply to the objection 
we have been endeavouring to repel." 

I have given this passage, though long, in its continuous 
form, because of the unity of the subject, and the attempted 
conclusiveness of the argument. 

The writer first charges me with a palpable inconsistency. 
" He would have us believe," he exclaims in amazement, 
" that a man may be saved by virtue of sovereign predesti- 
nation, or he may be saved without it ! that he may be saved 
by the aid of the Holy Spirit, or he may be saved without 
it !" Undoubtedly I believe this, whether I can succeed in 
persuading anybody else to believe it, or not. And where is 
its astoTinding inconsistency 1 The reviewer has attempted no 
demonstration of it beyond the use of a couple of notes of 
admiration, which, I may respectfully suggest to him, pi-ove 
nothing. If his sentence has the implied meaning that I 
thus give to man the glory of his own salvation, this clearly 
cannot be sustained, in the face of my repeated affirmation 
that, without the influence of the Holy Spirit, no man will 
believe in Jesus. 

The reviewer then enters on an argument to show that the 
fulfilment by a sinner, without the aid of the Holy Spirit, of 
the condition on which salvation is suspended, implies no 
merit. I have never had an idea that it does so, and the 


whole of tliis argument, consequently, passes me by. It 
would imply, however, the spontaneous production of a holy 
state of heart, out of which alone such a fulfilment of the 
condition could spring. This surely would be honourable 
to the sinner; it would be something good which he did not 
owe to God, and it would place him on a different ground 
from that occupied by those who were indebted for the same 
thing to the influence of the Holy Spiiit, and to whom it 
could be emphatically said, " What hast thou that thou hast 
not received f The explanation thus gi^^en is not in any 
degree inconsistent with my admission, that " faith does not 
avail for the justification of a sinner before God on account 
of any excellency in itself" How little the reviewer is 
satisfied, however, with his own position, appears from the 
passage which immediately follows : — 

"If we are asked how it is that one man believes and is saved 
whilst another man persists in unbelief, we reply that it is taught by 
Christ himself, tliat, with the same advantages with which some are 
lost, others would be saved (Matt. xi. 23, 24; Luke x. 13, 14). This 
fact, withovit any explanation, is the proof that there may l^e actual 
differences in human experience iinder the same dispensation." 

" There may be actual differences in human experience 
under the same dispensation." Of course there may; there 
evidently are so ; who, indeed, ever doubted it 1 Or who, 
besides this reviewer, would have thought of adducing two 
passages of Scripture to prove if? "This fact," "that with 
the same advantages with which some are lost others would 
be saved," the reviewer is for taking " without any explana- 
tion;" will he undertake to say, however, that it is ivithout a 
cause ? And does he really not know what the cause is ] 
not even with the help of John vi. 44 : " No man can come 
to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him'"? 
But for the texts, or rather the text — for though the refer- 
ences are two the passage is but one, and the reviewer has 
left his readers to look for it — it is that in which our Lord 
contrasts Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, with Capernaxim, Beth- 
saida, and Chorazin, and tells us that the former, if they had 
been equally favoured with the latter, would have repented. 
Like the reviewer, I shall hei-e abstain from discussion. The 
text, no doubt, has its difficulty; but in no way can it prove 
that a single sinner of mankind would come to Jesus " unless 
the Father draw him." 


The next subject whicli engages the attention of tlie 
reviewer relates to the influence of the Holy Spirit, and the 
(juestion whether its communication is not universal. Here 
he first endeavours to overthrow my position as to the ability 
of man: — 

" Mr. Hinton has told us that man is able of himself to repent, and 
turn to God. In his ' Theology, ' * he says, ' Man is able to do all 
that God requires of him. He is able to take care of his eternal 
intei'ests as of his temporal interests.' We do not doubt that a tiger 
)night be as innocent as a lamb. There is no want of power, it is only 
a want of disposition. The natui-al ability of a tiger to be harmless 
is as trustworthy as the natural ability of man to be his own saviour, 
either hy perfect obedience or evangelical faith." 

This passage has some singular features. Not altogether 
undeserving of notice is the introduction of a phrase quite 
inappropriate to the argument, and wholly alien from my 
position in it. The writer chooses to speak of "the ability 
of man to be his own saviour." He knows that this is 
phraseology I have never used, and should not choose to use; 
and what he means by thus, as it were, thrusting it upon me 
I cainiot tell. If he means that my saying man has power 
to do all that God requires of him is tantamount to saying 
that man can be his ovv-n saviou^r, I may safely say that this 
is a controA-ersial artifice as harmless as it is transparent. 
Nor have I ever spoken of the " trustwoi-thiness" of mail's 
natural ability. I believe it as untrustworthy as my reviewer 
does ; all I maintain is its existence in fact — does he admit 
this? When he speaks of "the natural ability of a tiger to 
be hai'mless," he draws a comparison between the properties 
of rational and irrational creatui'es for which, I think, there 
is no just foundation. 

"Mr. Hinton," the reviewer proceeds, "in opposition to many 
divines, asserts that neither death nor moral corruption is to be 
regarded as having a penal character. They are elements of the 
probationary state. We believe he has a sermon from the text, ' The 
wages of sill is death,' to prove that death is not the penalty of 
Adam's sin." 

In this passage there are two inaccuracies. In the fii'st 
])lace, it can hardly be true that I have either published, or 
lireached, such a sermon as he specifies, since I do not, and 
never did, hold the sentiment it was to prove. It is true 

* W.irks, Vol. I., page 71. 


that I have preached "from the text, 'The wages of .sin i.s 
death ;' " but very far indeed was my sermon from heing 
intended "to prove that death is not the penalty of Adam's 
sin." But why, k-t me be permitted to ask, shoidd the 
reviewer adduce as evidence in a grave and important argu- 
ment so evanescent an element as a sermon not published by 
me, and, perhaps, not even heard by himself, when my senti- 
ments on the point in question are in his hands in as plain 
and permanent a form as paper and print can assume "? 
Revie\ving of this kind is hardly adapted to inspire confi- 
dence in the reviewer, whether in his information or his 

In the second place, I have never said "that neither death 
nor moral corru2:)tion is regarded as having a })enal 
character." What I have said is that they have not xow — 
that is, under the dispensation of mercy — a penal character. 
In more words, I think that death and moral corruption 
v^ere penal in their origin, but that their character has l)een 
altered by their sovereign retention under, and incorporation 
into, the dispensation of mercy. I hardly see, however, 
what either of these things has to do with the controversy, 
unless it was intended to damage my character as a- theologian 
with my Calvinistic brethren. They will see through the 
trick. The reviewer proceeds, however, to argument: — 

" Whether the depravity of man be in its nature penal or not, its 
universality, and depth, and virulence, are acknowledged. From the 
awful responsibility of man, from the goodness of Uod, and the 
gracious character be claims for the Gospel dispensation, a prol:)ability 
arises that man would not be left without some iuiluence to counteract 
his depravity." 

I cannot see the ground of this alleged "probability." 
With all the riches of its grace, the Gospel dispensation is 
towards mankind at large a system of moral probation, 
under which there will necessarily be an equitable relation 
between ability and requirement ; but I do not see why 
there should be more. This I affirm there is, when I say 
that " man is able to do all that God requires of him." If 
my reviewer will maintain that, clogged with his natui'al 
depravity, man is not able to do what God requires of him, 
I will on this supjwsition allow, not only the " probability," 
but the certainty — the necessity — of " some influence to 
cxainteract his depravity." If this cannot be maintained, 


why, under a system of probation, should such an influence 
be vouchsafed 1 

My reviewer proceeds : — 

"If it were admitted that man is totally unable of himself to attain 
to a character of perfect holiness, or that, having sinned, he is unable 
of himself to repent and turn to God, we are not convinced that the 
conclusion at page 378 is established. ' The argiiment is this : men 
being unable to repent, the Spirit should be luiiversally given. On 
the supposition stated the gift of the Spirit would be matter of equity, 
not of grace.' Test this argument by giving it a different application. 
Men being unable to believe in Christ unless Christ had been given, 
the gift of Christ is a matter of ecxuity, not of grace !" 

Quite true, my sagacious friend, if men had been required 
to believe in Christ without Christ having been given. In that 
case, which is the real parallel, quite true. 

Something of more weight follows in the succeeding pas- 
sage, which I extract entire : — 

"The antecedent probability of some divine influence is confirmed 
by the vmiversal aspect of redemption, and the promises of the Gospel. 
This is, in jjart, admitted at page 383. If the premises had been 
permitted to speak their proper conclusion, it would have been that 
the gift of the> Spirit is universal, like the gift of Christ. But, having 
drawn his parallel and laid down his premises, Mr. Hinton shrinks 
from the force of his own argument, and gives a false conclusion. 
' The distribution of the Spirit being a part of the dispensation of 
mercy, and this being wholly foimded on the work of Christ, it 
follows, both that every part of the superstructure must have its 
bearing on the foundation, and that every part of the foundation must 
have its correspondence with the superstructure. As Christ died for 
all men, so the Go.sjjel is to be x'i'eached to all! and as the Spirit is 
given to some only, so for some only, in some sense, must Christ have 
died.' Having pronounced that one thing is universal, and another 
partial, it is no reflection on the logic of any man that he is unable to 
prove that the two are co-extensive. We claim this argiiment, and, 
confirmed as it is by one or two texts, we consider it decisive against 
the doctrine that the Spirit is given only for the elect. It has been 
admitted that the universal aspect of redemption is declared in such 
express terms that it would be difficult for any language to be more 
explicit — there must be a correspondence between the foundation and 
the superstructure ; as the gift of Christ is, in some sense, for the 
world, so also must be the gilt of the Spirit. — 'If ye then, being evil, 
know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more 
shall your heavenly" Father give the Holy Spii-it to them that ask 
him?' 'He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us 
all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?' " 

My reviewer " claims this argument," and thus puts it in 
his sense : " As the gift of Christ is in some sense for the 
world, so also must be the gift of the Spirit." There is a 


flaw, liowever, even in this seeming demonstration. My 
argument is not that, because the gift of Christ was in some 
sense for tlie church, so also miist be the gift of the Spirit ; 
but because the gift of Christ was for the church in a 
peculiar and special sense— in the sense, namely, of their 
being actually redeemed— therefore the Spirit must be given, 
without which such an issue could never be reached. The 
argument of the reviewer, a little more drawn out, is this : 
The gift of Christ is for all men in the sense of establishing 
an equitable gracious probation, to which the influence of 
the Spirit is not required; therefore the Spirit must he given! 
Will the reviewer forgive me for using a note of admii-ation 
here 1 I copied it involuntarily from a preceding passage of 
his review. 

As for the texts produced, they only prove how kind our 
heavenly Father is to his children, and to those who believe 
on the name of his Son ; it will cost some pains to show that 
they pi'ove anything concerning unbelievers. _ 

My reviewer now proceeds to another topic in the follow- 
ing terms : — ■ 

"Let us now suppose it to be proved that God gave his Son for the 
world appointed him to the office of Mediator, and placed him in the 
position of substitute for all men— that this is the whole of redemp- 
tion that lielongs to aU men— that the whole power of the proba- 
tionary system is exhausted— the gift of the Spirit is withheld, and 
man is left to his own uatural powers to understand, and accept, and 
apply the Gospel. Then, we ask, what amount of adaptation is there 
in tlie truth exhibited to work that change of heart without which no 
man can see God? We are preferring no claim on the ground ot 
iustice We are in a region of grace. If the truth alone is all that 
is <^iven for the regeneration of man, surely it might have been hoped 
that it woidd be most gracious in its nature, and so unmistakable in 
its utterances that every man should know exactly what is his interest 
therein. Mr. Hinton tells us that obligation and duty are presented 
with all their force, and love speaks in tones so tender that, if man s 
heart wUl yield to anything, it will be vanquished now. But he gives 
a fact which contradicts this theory. Man's heart is not vanquished 
by the Gospel. The Gospel is rejected by all. The heart of man 
yields only to some grace far richer than the Gospel, to some other 
cUspensation which is always and infallibly eefectual. ' As the rain 
Cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, 
but watereth the earth . . . so shall my word be that goeth forth 
out of my mouth ; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall 
accomT)Ush that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing 
whereunto I sent it' (Isaiah Iv. 10, 11). If this Scripture is true, and- 
Mr. Hinton's assertion is true, what is the inference, but that the 
Gospel was not given to man with a purpose to save?" 


If this is all that the reviewer desires to establish, "that 
the Gospel was not given to man with a purpose to save," I 
Avill grant it to him at once, and save him the trouble of 
ai'gnment. It can be no hardship for me to say again what 
I have said so often, that God instituted the dispensation of 
mercy "with a purpose" of subjecting mankind to an 
equitable probation, and of saving those who believe. I 
may add, however, that I do not see how the fact that 
" man's heart is not vanquished by the Gospel," contradicts 
the theory "that, if man's heart will yield to anything, it 
will be vanquished by it." All that this painful and hum- 
bling fact proves, so far as I can see, is that the enmity of 
man's heart towards God is so intense that, in the way of 
motive, it will yield to nothing. 

My reviewer continues : — 

" The Gospel is presented as the manifestation of God's love to the 
world, and for the salvation of tlie world. Does Mr. Hinton's theologj- 
sustain this claim, or contradict it? Accoi-ding to him, the ultimate 
purpose of God in the Gospel is to place men on a ground of 
conditional hope. But lov^e is shown in the desire to save. 'In this 
was manifested the love of God to us, because that God sent his only- 
begotten Son into the world that we might live thrrmgh hirn^ (1 John 
iv. 9). There is a meaning here far beyond that of placing man on a 
ground of conditional ho])e, and willingly leaving him to perish there. 
The miser in James ii. IG placed his brother on a ground of conditional 
hope, without any disposition to satisfy his hope. Is the love of God 
like his? Let Mr. Hinton answer. 'Christ gave himself for the 
church that he might sanctify, and cleanse, and save it; — God gave 
his Son for the world, that whosoever believeth in him might not 
perish, but have everlasting life.' Tlie difference, therefore, lies, not 
in the substance of the gift, but in the design with which it is 
bestowed, and the benefits which were to accrue from it. The design 
towards the church was salvation ; the design towards the world was 
something different. May we venture to ask what it was, and what 
w^ere the benefits to accrue f i"om it ? It could not be salvation ; if so, 
where is the difference? If Mr. Hinton had meant that what was 
designed in one case jiositively was designed in the other case 
conditionally, he knows enough of the use of language to have told us 
so. Is this mode of presenting the Gospel (if indeed it is not false to 
call it the Gospel) adapted to subdue the enmity of man's heart, or is 
it hiding the Saviour from the sinner?" 

I demur to the first sentence in this extract. It is hero 
laid down as an axiom, that "the Gospel is presented to man 
as the manifestation of God's love to the world, and /o7' the 
salvation of the taoi'ld.'' "For the salvation of the world." 
Query — actual salvation 1 or conditional salvation 'I The 


former I deny, and, if the reviewer affirms it, I challenge 
>iim to the jn'oof. The latter I affirm ; but by this the 
reviewer makes no point. In his quotation of i John iv. 9, 
he marks Avith italics the phrase " tliat we might live through 
him" and adds, "There is a meaning here far beyond that of 
placing a man on a ground of conditional hope, and willingly 
leading him to perish there." "What, then, is this meaning ? 
I can understand by the phrase nothing beyond the Gospel 
terms : " He that believe th shall be saved, and he that 
believeth not shall be damned." 

The reviewer seems to intend to affi^rd an illusti'ation of 
the subject when he says, "the miser in James ii. 16 placed 
his brother on a ground of conditional hope." What, then, 
did the miser do to his brother? He said, "Depart in peace; 
be ye warmed, and be ye tilled;" but he gave him nothing. 
And this the re\-iewer calls placing him "on a ground of 
conditional hope"! I may fairly ask, what loas the condi- 
tion 1 and what was the benefit to be obtained by fulfilling 
it? The fact is, that the miser, instead of placing his brother 
on a ground of conditional hope, gave him a real, but hy|50- 
critical, refusal. The bringing forward of such an illustration 
shows that the reviewer has no just conception of a state of 
conditional hope, and that he is arguing in the dark. In the 
following passage, however, he insinuates that the love which 
I ascribe to God is like the misei''s, a love of words and not 
of deeds ! How can this be, when I affirm that " God so 
loved the world, as to give his only-begotten Son, that 
whosoever belie"\'eth in him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life"? 

I am sorry to have written so obscurely as to leave the 
reviewer in any reasonable doubt as to my views of the 
design of the Gospel dispensation towards the church and 
the world respectively, but I do not pretend to know much 
"of the use of language;" my meaning, however, is, that 
the design of the Gospel dispensation is, towards the church, 
salvation — towards the world, probation ; or, to adopt the 
reviewer's suggested phraseology, towards the church positive 
salvation — towards the world conditional salvation. When 
the reviewer asks whether " this mode of presenting the 
Gospel is adapted to subdue the enmity of man's heart," I 
answer, Yes ; I think it is. It should be added, however, 
that this is not the question. The question is, Is this a 

B B 


scriptural representation of the attitude of Grod towards 

My reviewer now approaches the subject of reprobation, 
and makes a strenuous attempt to fix this sentiment upon 
me. These are his words : — 

' ' Let lis make another effort to ascertain -what is the vahie of this 
conditional hope, since it is all that is offered for the deliverance and 
salvation of a world lying in wickedness, and passing to endless 
perdition. Mr. Hinton does not teach reprobation. He protests 
against the charge. He teaches that redenijrtion is co-extensive with 
guilt and ruin — that the Lamb of God taketh away the sin of the 
world— that the grace of God bringeth salvation to all men. But he 
tells us (p. 387), that if all men were saved, it might be said that 
the moral government of God was wanting in a principle of genuine 
equity, and that consequently a portion of mankind are left for justice 
to take its course. If this is true, if the perdition of any man be 
necessary in this sense for the vindication of the justice of God, we 
fear that man cannot be far from a state of reprol^ation ; the condi- 
tional hope can be worth but very little to him. We have heard 
before of a portion of mankind on whom grace richer than the Gospel 
is bestowed ; we are told here of another portion of our race who, by 
the sovereign will of God, are passed by and left to dishonour and 
wrath for their sins, to the praise of his glorious justice. This is not 
lifting np the Son of man to draw all men nnto him. It is taking 
away the foundation of a sinner's faith. Wliat warrant can any man 
have to trust in Christ for salvation, before he knows whether the 
perdition of his soiil is necessary for tlie manifestation of di^ane 
justice, or whether it is not?" 

The charge here brought against me — that is, against the 
views I advocate — is of the gravest charactei". I am "taking 
away the foundation of a sinner's faith." Many thanks to 
the Christian brother who lias the faithfidness to tell me so, 
and a candid examination for the reasons l)y which his 
allegation is su.stained. 

I am aware how favourite a mode of warfare it is with 
Arminians against Calvinism to charge it with, either openly 
or implicitly, teaching reprobation; and I must confess I have 
not been without a hope that the Calvinistic scheme, as I 
hold it, was clear from such an imputation. The mischief, 
however, according to my reviewer, still lurks in the system, 
in however mitigated a form. Mr, Hinton "tells us," he 
says, "in p. 387, that, if all men Avere saved, it might 
be said that the moral government of God was wanting in 
a principle of genuine equity, and that, consequently, a 
portion of mankind are left for justice to take its course." 


Now, upon referring to my " Lectures on Redemption," I 
find, not only that I have not said this in the letter, but that 
this is manifestly not the meaning of what I have said. 
Wliat I have said is, that such an imputation might be cast 
on the moral government of God — not "if all men were 
saved" — but "if the univei-sal rejection of his redeeming 
mercy had been remedied by the universal gift of the Holy 
Spirit." This is siirely a widely ditierent thing. That God 
himself did not fear an imputation on his moral government 
"if all men were saved," must be manifest from this, that he 
made an actual provision for the salvation of all men, and 
gave them a most wijiuing welcome to it. If by accepting 
his invitation all men had been saved, it would doubtless 
have been to his untarnished glory; it is possible, however, 
that it might not have been so, when his mercy had been 
universally rejected, to have saved all men by the further 
vouch safement of his Holy Spirit, which is all that I have 
jvsserted. The premises being thus faulty, the inference 
drawn from them cannot but be vitiated. 

The reviewer repeats his misrepresentation in a form of 
still grosser inaccuracy, when he says, "we are told here of 
another portion of our race who, by the sovereign will of 
God, are passed by, and left to dishonour and wrath for their 
sins, to the praise of his glorious justice." I must be allowed 
to say that, by me, neither the reviewer nor anybody else 
has been told anything of the kind. That I have repeatedly 
said the contrary the reviewer knows very well; and my 
statement that with a universal provision of mercy God has 
combined a limited communication of his Holy Spirit, is not 
fairly rendered into this, that a certain portion of our race 
he has "passed by, and left to dishonour and wrath for their 
sins." It is a strange method of passing men by, and leaving 
them to dishonour and wrath for their sins, so to love them 
as to give for them his only-begotten Son, that whosoever 
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

When the reviewer closes his argument by the question, 
" What warrant can any man have to trust in Christ for 
salvation, before he knows whether the perdition of his soul 
is necessary for the manifestation of divine justice?" I have 
only to answer, that the system I advocate knows nothing of 
such a necessity. For every man salvation is provided, and 
to it every man is welcome. 


From tlie topic of reprobation tlie reviewer turns to tliree 
scriptural arguments of a general character : — 

"The predestination of a portion of mankind to eternal life, and 
tlie exception of the rest, appears to be inconsistent with the assu- 
rance that God sent his Son into the world that the world through 
him might be saved ; the withholding of the gift of the Holy Spirit 
from any for whom Christ died appears to be inconsistent with the 
promise that, having given his Son, God would with him also freely 
give us all things ; the exception of millions from the love which 
secures salvation appears to be inconsistent with the will of our 
Saviour that all men should be saved." 

The tii'st of these ai'guments is founded on John iii. 1 7 — 
the declaration that " God sent his Son into the world that 
the world through him might be saved ; " with which, it is 
alleged, " the predestination of a portion of mankind to 
eternal life, and the exception of the rest, appears to be 
inconsistent," Now I object here to the mode of stating the 
fact. The divine "predestination of a portion of mankind 
to etei"nal life" I hold, but I learn nothing from Scripture of 
"the exception of the rest;" and I have nothing to do with 
any difficulty which it may be supposed to involve. I 
observe, further, that the declaration cited teaches no moi'e 
than that there was made, through Christ, a provision for 
the salvation of all men by faith ; a pro'sdsion with which 
"the predestination of a portion of mankind to eternal life" 
appears to me to be not at all inconsistent. 

The second argument is foimded on Romans viii. 32 : "He 
that spared not his own Son, but delivered liim up for us all, 
how shall he not with him also freely give us all things 1 " 
with which "jiromise" — which, however, is not a promise, 
but merely an inference from a premised fact — it is alleged 
to be inconsistent that God should " withhold the gift of his 
Spirit from any for whom Christ died." The reply to this 
is, that the passage in which this text occurs does not permit 
the pronoun "us" to be taken in a universal sense. Without 
an actual reference to it, many of my readers will recollect 
that Romans viii. from ver. 3 1 to the end, consists of a burst 
of triumphant joy on account of the gloi'ious privileges of 
believers in Christ, and a single verse cannot be severed 
from the general reference. God will give all good things to 
believers in Jesus, there is no doubt; and the passage teaches 
no moi'e. 

The thii'd argument is founded on the alleged "will of our 


Saviour that all men sliould be saved;" with which will "the 
exceptiou of millions from the love which secures salvation" 
is said to be inconsistent. Now I have yet to learn that it 
is " the will of our Saviour that all men shovxld be saved." 
The reviewer refers, of course, to i Tim. ii. 4, where nearly 
the words he has used are certainly to be found, but not, I 
think, in the sense in which he has used them. The con- 
nexion clearly determines a different- meaning. The apostle 
is giving directions to the churches to pray "for all men," 
including expressly "kings, and all that are in authoi-ity;" 
which, he says, " is good and acceptable in the sight of God 
our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come 
unto the knowledge of the truth." Here three observations 
may be made. i. The force of the phrase "all men" may be 
limited by the scope of the exhortation. Paul is saying, Pray 
for men of all classes, because the Gospel contemplates men 
of all classes. 2. Or the assertion that Christ "will have all 
men to be saved" may mean that Christ will have salvation 
proclaimed to all ; according to the remaining clause of the 
verse — " and come to the knowledge of the truth." 3. At 
any rate it cannot be the will of Christ that "all men" should 
be actually saved, or saved otherwise than by faith — that is, 
conditionally. Now, not with either of these explanations is 
"exception from the love which secures salvation" in any 
degree inconsistent. 

In the next paragraph the reviewer introduces an argu- 
ment of a diflerent kind : — 

" If the atonement be infinitely sufficient, and predestination 
sovereign, and grace ii-resistible, jSIr. Hiutou has not sliown why God 
could not as righteously pardon all as he can pardon one ; why he 
coidd not sanctify and save the world as well as the church. He has 
not shown what there is to prevent the salvation of aU men but a 
want of benevolence in God. There can be no obstacle on the part of 
God as a governor ; every obstacle is removed by the atonement. 
There can be no obstacle in man ; man does not receive salvation as a 
probationer; election lias no respect to anything in man. It is for 
want of love in the Father's heart that those whom he has redeemed 
■with the blood of his Son are suffered to perish in their sins. The joy 
of the father on the return of the prodigal condemns every system 
which involves a conclusion like this. The cpiestion remains without 
an answer, and the assertion that God is infinitely willing to forgive 
is without practical proof. We have already referred to the allegation 
at page 387, that some are left to perish lest a slur shoidd be cast 
upon the divine government. We cannot accept this as a reply. We 
reject it, as we reject piu-gatory and the mass, and for the same 


reason. Like them, it is derogatojy to the ' One sacrifice offered for 
sins for ever.' " 

Accoixling to tlie mode of argument here pursued, it does 
not appear that any "practical proof" "that God is infinitely 
willing to forgive," short of the actual salvation of the whole 
human race, would be satisfactory to the reviewer. If the 
Son of the Father has died for the whole world, the stubborn 
fact remains, in spite of all that can be said to the contrary, 
that some of " those M^liom he has redeemed by the blood of 
his Son ai'e suffered to perish in their sins;" and the reviewer 
may proceed to shut himself (not me) up to the conclusion 
that this "is for want of love in the Father's heart," as soon 
as he pleases. I protest, however, against the \ise he makes 
of the parable of the prodigal son, which he evidently handles 
as though our Lord had intended it as an illustration of 
redeeming mercy, which I must broadly maintain it is not. 
The scope of all the three parables in the 15 th of Luke is 
purely local and Jewish, as determined by the occasion of 
them stated in ver. i, 2. 

To the reviewer's main objection that my system infers "a 
want of benevolence in God," since he might save all men 
and does not, I shall not content myself, as I might, with 
saying to an Arminian, Thou art in the same condemnation ; 
I reply, generally, that benevolence is not the only divine 
attribute exei'cised in the work of human redemption. It is 
exercised, undoubtedly, and gloriously exercised ; but it is 
exercised in nnison with other attributes, and not exclusively. 
In one view God's benevolence is associated with his equity, 
and he is pleased to establish over mankind a system of gra- 
cious but equitable probation, founded upon the gift and 
sacrifice of his Son. Under this system, "he that belicveth 
and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not 
shall be damned ;" the perdition of an unbeliever implying no 
"want of benevolence in God," but being the natural result 
of a system in which benevolence has its operation modified 
by equity. The reviewer, I hojie, will not now say that "the 
question" he has raised "remains Avithout an answer;" and, 
perhaps, the answer here given may not be, like another to 
which he refers, but which I have not given, as distasteful to 
him as "purgatory and the mass." 

It may fairly be observed, however, that I am not the only 
party in this controversy concerned with the question why 


God has Bot saved all men. Upon the reviewer^s theory as 
well as upon mine the fact is the same, that God has n<3t 
.saved all men; and I am as much entitled to ask the re- 
viewer Avhy God has not, as he me. If he mamtams that 
God has both given his Son to die for all men and given his 
Spirit to all men, then why has he not saved all men t it 
must still be from "a want of benevolence m God that He 
has not made the influence of his Spirit etfectual to the salva- 
tion of all, as, of course, he might have done. Or, it not from 
a deficiency of love, nothing remains but to acknowledge a 
deficiency of power. God has tried to save al\ men, and 
could not. Will the reviewer accept this conclusion ( 

The reviewer winds up his paper by making a quotation 
from me : — 

"We caunot -ive Mr. Hiuton's estimate of the glorious Gospel of 
the blesSd Gocl better than by quoting his o^™ Ws We beg 
those who have the opportunity to turn to page f^^, and read toi 
themselves With a prospect of universal rejection, Was the ministry 
of reconcil ation worthy of God? Viewed simply in relation to the 
happiness^^^^ may be said without hesitation that i was 

nofso Sice the happiness of mankind is in no degi^e P™-f f Jj^^; 
Tn this respect it must sadly be pronounced a failure, and a ^\ aste 
and indeeTworse than this, since the Gospel ministry, neglected and 
'ZpiS becomes an occasion of fresh guilt, and more aggravated 
condemnation.' " 

This is as much as to say, " Out of thine own mouth will 
I condemn thee;" but I have yet a demurrer to put m 
before judgment is passed. This quotation is given as Mr. 
Hinton's estimate of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. 
Now, iniustice is thus doue me in two vesi^ects -tu'sMt i^ 
not of "the glorious Gospel of the blessed God that this is 
my estimate, but of "the ministry of reconcihation ; or as 
the connexion shows, of the universal preachmg of the 
Gospel. The other phrase, "the glorious Gospel ot the 
blessed God," is used by the apostle in i Tim. i. 1 1, and by 
the reviewer in this place, to denote a far wider object, 
namely, the entire work of redemption. _ ^ ^ 

Secondlv, even of " the ministry of reconciliation this is 
not "Mr. Hinton's estimate," but only a part of it; and as 
the reviewer has done me injustice by quotmg a part, my 
readers must allow me to do myself a small measure ot 
iustice by quoting the whole. From the point where he 
'^tops, I proceed thus: "This, however, is takmg too narrow 


a view of the subject. From a truer and more elevated 
stand-point, 'the ministry of reconciliation' will assume a 
different character. Neither the whole nor the highest end 
of God in his ways is the well-being of creatm-es, but the 
manifestation of his own glory. Now the glory of God is 
manifested in 'the ministry of reconciliation' in two ways. 
On the one hand it is a display of infinite grace and conde- 
scending mercy, the honour of which remains to him although 
the acceptance of it is spurned by mankind. On the other 
hand it is, as I have shown, an enlarged development of his 
moral government. Thus, whether men will hear or whether 
they will forbear, God will be glorified, both by a direct 
display of his character and by a noble expansion of his 
moral administration." I have now only to second my re- 
viewer's request, that those who have the opportunity will 
" turn to ' Redemption,' p. 412, and i-ead for themselves." 

In the concluding sentence of the review, I have the 
pleasure of expressing a perfect agreement : — 

" Under the old tyi:)ical dispensation the city of refnge was open to 
all, and the way was to be unmistakable and nuobstructed. Wliat did 
it mean but this ? Keep the road to the cross clear ! Let every man 
know there is salvation for him there !" 

Oh ! if I thought that the views I hold .cast any obstruc- 
tions into, or shed any obscurity over, "the way to the cross," 
how gladly, how eagerly, would I modify them ! Yes ; this 
is right. " Keep the road to the cross clear ! Let every 
man know there is salvation for him there ! " 


How well I recollect that, after the publication of my 
volume on the "Work of the Holy Spirit," the late Rev. 
Joseph Ivimey, in the Committee-room of the Baptist Mis- 
sionary Society, where the book was the subject of some 
passing remarks, said, in his characteristic manner, "That 
book ought to be answered, sir." And I may now, perhaps, 
confess without shame, that it has sometimes been to me an 
occasion of feeling — I will not open iny heart to the public 


gaze so far as to say what kind of feeling — that, during 
thii-ty years, and these by no means wanting either in 
philosophical or theological activity, it never has been 
answered. That I should have rej(jined to an answer if 
one had been vouchsafed to me, is highly probable; but, per- 
haps, I am better situated now for such a rejoinder than I 
could have been if my views had been met in the usual way. 
Then I should most likely have been answered from one side 
— probably the Hy per-Calviuistic ; now I am answered from 
both sides, the Hyper-Calvinistic and the Arminian : and in 
this manner my views are subjected to an examination more 
thorough and searching than any they could otherwise have 

It is a source of satisfaction to me, also, that, though the 
papers I have been examining are but reviews, and reviews 
not of great lengtli, nor of tirst-class periodicals, they are 
argumentative reviews, and reviews by writers not unworthy 
of their task. It is to be s\i]iposed that the critical staff of 
the respective denominations includes their most considerable 
theologians, and their best writers ; and I may not be far 
wrong in conjectui'ing that the two schools of divinity to 
which I am opposed have now put forth their strength. I 
have endeavoured fairly to meet it, and the class of readers 
who are interested in this department of theological contro- 
versy will judge of the result. 

I say "the class of readers;" for I am aware that such 
readers form but a class. I am far indeed from expecting 
that these few pages, if ever they should see the light, will 
engage any general interest. Books of fiction and of travel 
will undoubtedly be much more to the public taste, and, 
even in theology, the discussion of such points as are here 
treated maybe deemed out of date — an anachronism; a class 
of readers will, nevertheless, be found for them, especially, 
perhaps, among those of my brethren in the ministry, and 
their more intelligent hearers, who have given attention to 
my former wi-itings, and who may, not without interest, 
possibly not without profit, observe in what mode the 
positions I have taken have been assailed and defended. 

I write for these; not for my critics, as they, doubtless, 
have not wi-itten for me, but for their respective partisans. 
On neither side, I dare say, have we any thought of con- 
vincing one another; but outside of the immediate sphere 


of the controversy are many whose habits of thought are 
less fixed, who are less uiflnenced by prejudgments, who are 
less tenaciously held by party ties, and so are more apt to 
inde2:)endent thought and more open to conviction than 
ourselves. For these I have written ; and to their prayerful 
attention and the blessing of God what I have written is 

It should be observed, however, that what I have here 
written can be of no interest to any pei'son but one who 
has read attentively at least my " Lectures on Redemption," 
of which the papers I have lieen examining profess to be a 
review; while the interest of such a reader will naturally be 
aiigraented in proportion to his acquaintance with my other 
wi-itings, from "Theology" downwards. It will be desirable 
that the reader should have my " Lectures on Redemption" 
by him, and make frequent reference to them, in order that 
he may see whether justice is done to me by my reviewers, 
and whether they have really brought out the strength of 
my argument. There is, of course, much in a book which 
cannot be noticed in detail in a review, and it is hardly to 
be expected of an opponent to exhibit the whole foi'ce of the 
case he opposes; it will, consequently, be advantageous to 
the reader if he will make the perusal of these pages only a 
pendant to the study of the " Lectures" themselves. 

If it were at all proper for me to say what I think my 
reviewers have effected in relation, either to the views I have 
advocated or to myself as their humble but willing advocate, 
I shoiild say, with high respect for their talents, that they 
have not moved me a liair's breadth from any of the posi- 
tions I had previously occuj)ied, or shaken my profound con- 
viction that Moderate Calvinism is, as Robert Robinson 
called it, "the safe path between two exti-eraes." 


The discourses now subjected to review were delivered in 
the parisli cliurch of Saint James, Westminster, during Lent, 
1842. The publication of them is, of course, designed to 
challenge regard to their contents ; and, for several reasons, 
they deserve the regard they challenge. 

In the first place, the subject on which they treat is of 
great interest and importance. They are stated to be " Sei- 
mons on The Church;" that is to say, on the supposed 
relation a body so denominated bears to the spiritual condi- 
tion and prospects of mankind. No tojiics can be more 
important than those which affect the satisfactory adjustment 
of our religious concerns. If The Church, as the bishop of 
London inculcates, is the necessary medium of our salvation, 
tlie doctrine i-elating to it stands in the very first i-ank of 
truths. It is of no less moment than those which set forth 
the nature of repentance and faith, or than even those which 
assert the personal dignity, and the vicarious atonement, of 
the Son of God. Besides its essential moment, the subject 
of these discourses gathers an accidental importance from the 
times : not only because it is disputed, but because the dis- 
cussions to which it has given rise have deeply stirred the 
minds of men, and are destined to do so still more profoundly. 
The question forms one part of that great ecclesiastical con- 
troversy which may be emphatically said to constitute the 
business of the age, and which must be pursued to its con- 
summation, whatever else maj' remain undone. 

The discourses before us are the more worthy of notice, 
because they propound the writer's doctrine concerning The 
Church in a compact and popular manner. Without being 
in all respects eminent for perspicuity, the bishop of London 
is on his main point abundantly plain. His view of The 
Church is not wrapped up in folds of mysteiy, or expressed 


in a teclmical jargon, intelligible only in the schools. He 
lias evidently both preached and wi-itten for the people, and 
we are called upon, not only to thank liim for having so 
plainly said what he means, but also to give corresponding 
attention to liis instructions. 

In fine, the sermons under review desei've grave attention, 
because they are the production of a distinguished Anglican 
prelate, whose station and character will undoubtedly give to 
his sentiments great weight and extensive currency. It is 
the more important, therefore, that they should be subjected 
to examination, in oi-der that, if they should be found 
erroneous, a corrective may in some sort be attempted. 

In proceeding to the investigation I design, I have to clear 
my way by observing, that on a large portion of the discourses 
I have no remarks to offer. The second of them, for example, 
is devoted to the proof that episcopal government is an essen- 
tial feature of the true church ; a sentiment which, although 
I do not hold it, I am not now about to call in question. 
Nor shall I have occasion to advert at length to the argu- 
ment of the third discourse, or the numerous quotations from 
the writings of other Anglican bishops by which it is prin- 
cipally occupied. My intention is to examine the docti'ine 
respecting The Church which is here set forth; and, with 
this view, I shall notice such parts of the sermons only as 
have relation to it. 

Before I proceed, I do justice with much pleasure to the 
bland and benignant manner in which the distinguished 
author has treated the "unhappy subject" (as bishop Sher- 
lock has it) of his discourses. I shall endeavour to imitate 
him. Without quoting his words, I unite with him in 
prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, that not 
only we who have written upon it, but all who read what 
we have written, may come "to a right conclusion on this 
important matter." 

As I have said that my design is to examine the bishop's 
doctrine concerning The Church, it is, of course, proper that 
I should exhibit in his own words its precise tenor. The 
text of the first sermon is Acts ii. 47 — '' The Lord added to 
the church daily such as should be saved:" and the views 
of the bishop will be readily gathered from the following 
extracts : — 

"It is au unavoidable inference from the words of the text, that 


those who are, to he saved must be added to the church: in other words, 
that incorporation into the church of Clirist is necessary to salvation " 

(P- 5). . . 

' ' In the sentence which I liave chosen for my text, it is manifest 
that the word church is to he taken in the Largest sense, as deaoting 
the general assembly of the f aithf id called out of an unbelieving world, 
and forming one mystical body, memljers one of another, Jesus Christ 
himself being the head. 'For as the body,' says St. Paul to the 
Corinthians, ' is one, and hath many members, and all the members 
of that one body, Ijeing many, are one bodj- ; so also is Christ. For 
by one Spirit are we all liajitized into one body, whether we be Jews 
or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free ; and have been all made to 
drink into one Sjiirit. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members 
in particular.' This united society of believers constitutes the house- 
hold of God, a distinct family, and a pecidiar commonwealth ; as St. 
Paul describes the Ephesiaii Christians: 'Now therefore ye are no 
more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and 
of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the 
apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner- 
stone ; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto 
an holy temple in the Lord : in whom j^e also are builded together for 
an habitation of God through the Si)irit. ' To this mystical body each 
individual sinner, Avho is 'elect according to the foreknowledge of 
God the Father, through sanctihcation of the Spirit, unto obedience, 
and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,' is added; united thereto 
by baptism ; ' which, ' says St. Peter, ' doth also now save us, by the 
resurrection of Jesus Christ.' A new principle of life is infused into 
him; he is regenerate; born anew of water and of the Spirit; and 
placed in a new relation to God, as one of his own peculiar family 
and household ; furnished with all the means of realizing to himself 
the promise of salvation given by Jesus Christ to all penitent sinners, 
and sealed to hhn personally in baptism" (pp. 7, 8). 

"Salvation thi'ough Jesus Christ was the doctrine which the 
apostles were commissioned to proclaim to all the people of the earth : 
' Go ye, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the 
Father, and of the Sou, and of the Holy Ghost. He that believeth 
and is baptized shall be saved.' Those who were so ba})tized were 
made members of the church of Christ, and placed in a state capable 
of salvai;iou. It was God's purpose to save them through Christ, and 
this was the first step in the process. The sacred historian therefore 
says, 'The Lord added to the church dailj^ such as shoidd be saved.' 
It did not follow as a certain consequence, that all who were so added 
to the visible body of Christ would 1)e finally saved by him from the 
wrath to come ; but it would be their o^^^l fault if they were not ; for 
by their incorporation into the church they were enabled to do that 
which, without such incorporation, would have been impracticable, 
to work out their own salvation, though with fear and trembling " 
(pp. 1, 2). 

" But I revert to the conclusion to Vie drawn from the words of the 
text, that, if ' the Lord added to the church daily such as should be 
saA-ed, ' those who are to be saved must be added to the church ; and 
that, thei-efore, the church is the appointed medium, or iustnimeutal 


means, in and through which individual sinners must appropriate 
to themselves the pardon which Christ has purchased for all ; first 
being admitted by baptism into the church, and so acquiring a title to 
its privileges, and grace to nse them ; and afterwards being nourished 
with the food of sound doctrine, and of the Sacrament of the body 
and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who was given, as our church 
declares, 'not only to die for ns, but also to be om- spiritual food and 
sustenance in that holy Sacrament'" (p. 10). 

"From the view which we have now taken of the subject, the 
following conclusions may seem to be established. First, that tlie 
church is a spiritual society, the foundations of which were laid by 
Jesus Christ himself, its divine and perpetual liead; its frame and 
constitiition being afterwards constructed and settled by his apostles, 
acting with his authority, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. 
Secondly, that its office is to bring sinners to Christ, by furnishing to 
those who are incorporated into it the means of knowledge and holi- 
ness; and that it is, therefore, not merely instrumental, as a teacher, 
but -sacramental, as a medium of the believer's ])ersonal union with 
his Saviour, conveying and dispensing grace. Thirdly, that it con- 
sists of all those who, having been admitted into it bj' baptism, hold 
the faith as it is in Jesus, and who use, or do not obstinately refuse, 
their spiritual privileges ; and that all local churches, which can trace 
their apostolical descent, and teach the pure word, and duly admin- 
ister the ordinances of Christ, are branches, more or less flourishing, 
more or less profitable, of the one Holy Universal Church " (pp. 15, 16). 


Tlie reader will not fail to observe, that the bi^ho}) has 
fovinded his doctriiie concerning The Chnrch on the words of 
his text; from which, he says " it is an unavoidable inference 
that those who are to he saved must be added to the church^' 
(p. 5). It will be proper in the first instance, therefore, to 
inquire how far the passage on which he relies Avill sustain 
this inference. 

It appears to me that the bishop has failed in the inteipre- 
tation of his text, and that he has mistaken the meaning of 
it in two essential particulars. 

I. He tells us that the word church is here to be taken 
" as denoting the genei'al assembly of the faithful called out 
of an unbelieving world" {p. 7). I submit, however, that the 
word is here to be undei'stood of that particular company of 
professed believers in Christ then recently constituted at 
Jerusalem. It was to that company in point of fact that 
the parties were added, and the bishop has shown no reason 
for denominating them " the general assembly of the faith- 
ful." Nor does any such reason appear. On the contrary, 


tills very body is subsequently called "the church at Jeru- 
s-ilem" (Acts viii. i); and it evidently bore no other relation 
to any " i^eneral assembly of the faithful" than did the 
churches a"t Ephesus, Corinth, or Philippi. 

->. In his interpretation of the last clause of his text— 
"such as should be saved"— the bishop is not more happy. 
He understands this phrase to mean " those who were to be 
saved" (p. 5). To say nothing of this mutation of the 
Encdish authorized version, that version itself is in this 
instance objectionable. The bishop of London is far too 
<rood a scholar not to know that aw^ofievovs (the present 
participle) is grammatically incapable of such a rendering. 
Bloomtield, after many critics, justly rejects it. A literal 
translation would be, " The Lord added to the church daily 
the saved" Without inquirhig for the moment what the 
sense of the term may be, it must be evident that it cannot 
have the meaning assigned to it by the bishop. The true 
meaning, however, is by no means diiticult of discovery. It 
is obvio°is, of course, that believers in Christ are not there- 
upon "saved," iu the full import of that word; this felicity 
- remains to be consummated in heaven. They, however, do, 
upon believing in him, acquii-e an actual interest in salvation ; 
that is to say, the possession of some of its blessings, and a 
title to the rest. " Being justified by faith," says the apostle, 
" we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, 
]jy whom we have access into this grace wherein we stand, 
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. v. i, 2). In 
this limited sense believers in Christ may be said to be 
already saved; and this mode of speaking of them is so 
frequent in the Scriptures as to render examples of its use 
superfluous here. When, therefore, the inspired narrator 
says in the passage before us, that " the Lord added to the 
church daily the saved," he clearly means the converted— 
those who, 'by faith in Christ (on the profession of w^hich 
they had been baptized), had acquired an interest in salva- 
tion. ■ f n 

If this be the just interpretation of the text, it iaiis. 
entirely to support the doctrine which the bishop builds upon 
it. ^^either to the body he means to designate as The 
Church, nor to the parties he contemplates as needmg to be 
saved, has the m-iter the remotest reference. The fact he 
states is simply this— that the Lord added daily to the 


cliurcli at Jerusalem converted men. The conclusion to be 
drawn from this statement is of an entirely opposite cliarac- 
ter to that deduced by the bishop; and, in so far as his 
doctrine rests on this text, it may be declared to be, not only 
unsupported, but overthrown. 

So much for the "unavoidable inference." Let us now 
proceed to an examination of the general views which the 
bishoj) maintains on the subject before us. 


I begin by some observations on the idea which the bishop 
attaches to his principal term, The Church. In his argu- 
ment (and necessarily, for his purpose) this term is used as 
denoting " the whole body of the faithful in all parts of the 
world" (p. 6); or more fully, "the general assembly of the 
faithful called out of an unbelieving world, and forming one 
mystical body, members one of another, Jesus Christ himself 
being the head" (p. 7). These he takes to constitute "the 
household of God," and elsewhere denominates " Christ's 
Holy Catholic Church" {p. 15). 

The bishoj) claims scriptural authoiity for this. Of the 
word iKK\rjat'a [church] he says, that " as applied to Chris- 
tians, it denotes a company of j)ersons believing in Jesus 
Christ; sometimes the whole body of the faithful in all parts 
of the woi-ld, sometimes those who inhabit a particular 
country or city " (p. 6). And confining himself to these two 
uses of the term, he says that, in understanding it of the 
former, he takes it "in the lai'gest sense." There is a yet 
larger sense, however, in which the sacred Scriptures use the 
term in question. We find it to denote the entire multitude 
of the redeemed, whether in heaven, or on earth, or yet 
unborn. This must be the meaning, for example, when it is 
said, "Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it" 
(Eph. V. 25); since it is evidently of all the redeemed that 
what follows is true, and since it can be true of none besides. 
Acts XX. 28* is another instance. It requires to be con- 

* "Feed the clmrcli of God, which he hath purchased with his own 
Wood." This is a direction to the elders of the church at Ephesus; but 
the import of the terra church cannot he confined to the Christian society 
in that city, because the text would in this case i)rove the church at 
Ephesus exclusively to be ^^ the chui'ch of God." The apostle must be 


sidered, therefore, whetlier the multitude of the redeemed 
does not challenge the name of Christ's Holy Catholic 
Church, in preference to the whole body of the faithful at 
any one time upon earth. 

Before proceeding with this inquiry, let me be jjermitted 
to remove the obscurity — perhaps the mystery— which, in 
many minds, attaches itself to the term catholic. I wish 
the reader to understand that catholic is merely an Anglicized 
Greek word, and that, in plain English, it means universal. 
Catholic chTcrcJi, therefore, is but a synonym for tmiversal 
church, and the one phrase may always be exchanged for the 
other. I shall employ chietiy the latter. 

Now the ITniversal Church is, of course, the whole church, 
and contains of necessity every member of it — otherwise it is 
not universal. But the whole chui-ch of Christ is not, and 
never has been, at any one moment upon earth. Part of it 
is already in heaven, and paii; of it has not as yet come into 
being. The phrase The Universal Church, therefore, cannot, 
without manifest inaccuracy, be applied to an aggregate body 
in this world, however composed. Multitudes belong to that 
church whom siich a use of the expression would exclude. 
In this case, indeed, the Universal Chui*ch would be a body 
of ever-shifting elements, as the various members of the 
church on eai-th might enter and depai't; not for a single 
day consisting of the same persons, and at distant periods 
made up of persons altogether difierent. 

The bishop's use of the appellation. The Universal Church, 
could not be justified, therefore, if it were reall)^ "the whole 
body of the faithful in all parts of the world" to whom he 
intended to apply it. In his view, however, Christ's Holy 
Catholic Church consists, not of all the believers in the world, 
but of all persons associated in certain Christian communi- 
ties — in those, namely, which exhibit what he deems the 
necessaiy features of the true church. 

To this I further object, that, to i-egard these, or any other 
Christian societies on earth, as constituting The Universal 
Church, would incliide within that body many whom it 
cannot really contain. 

understood to speak of the whole hody which Christ "hath purchased 
witli his own hlood," that is to say, of the entire multitude of the re- 
deemed; and to enjoin the Ephesian elders to "feed" such part of it as 
might come under their care. 

C C 


The bishop tells us that the term church, "as applied to 
Christians" in the Scripture, "denotes a company of persons 
helieving in Jesus Christ;" but he would have been moi*e 
cori'ect if he had said, a company of persons professing to 
believe in him. All churches of Christ were, and are, neces- 
sarily companies of professors, and the whole of them can 
constitute nothing but a larger body of the same class. The 
Universal Church, therefore, if constituted of any Christian 
societies on earth, must consist of similar materials. The 
bishop, indeed, speaks of it as a " united society of believers," 
"the general assembly of the faithful,^' and "the congrega- 
tion of Christian jjeojjle ;" forgetting, it would seem, how far 
the multitude of Christian professors are from being either 
the one or the other. If Christian societies had been in all 
cases fox'med on the strictest interpretation of Christ's will, 
they could not have been accurately designated " the faith- 
ful;" inasmuch as admission into them can turn upon 
nothing more decisive than a profession of faith in him, 
without any absolute guarantee for its sincerity. The exist- 
ence of false professors was, indeed, distinctly foreseen, and 
a corresponding discipline provided. But, after the manner 
in which communities called Christian have been actually 
formed, to talk of them as constituting an assembly of " the 
faithful" is utterly preposterous. With the largest admis- 
sions as to the probable number of pious individuals, it will 
not be contested, when the state of Christendom is taken 
into account, that what the bishop means by The Church 
consists to a very large extent of persons utterly irreligious, 
and even profligate. Can it be held that these constitute the 
"mystical body of Christ;" that he is their vital Head; and 
that they are "fellow-citizens with the saints, of the house- 
hold of God, and builded together for an habitation of God 
through the Spirit"? Who, then, are the lost"? 

Another objection to applying the epithet The Universal 
Church to any society, or combination of societies, on earth, 
arises from the fact that all such societies are constituted by 
merely ritual acts of union; according to the bishop, for 
example, by baptism, Now it is an explicit and solemn 
declaration of the apostle (Gal. v. 6), that, " in Christ Jesus, 
neither circumcision availeth anything nor uncircumcision, 
but faith, which worketh by love." The indisputable mean- 
ing of this passage is, that, in relation to salvation and all 


its blessings, ritual actions have no influence whatever — 
neither if we perform them are we the better, nor if we do 
not perform them are we the worse; but that the only influ- 
ential element in this i-espect is the exercise of "faith, which 
woi'keth by love." To aflinn, then, that there exists on 
earth a body (however constitiited) of professing Christians, 
incorporation with which is necessary to salvation, is to con- 
tradict the Scriptures. Yet this is by implication aflirmed, 
when it is maintained that any body of professing Christians 
on eaii;h constitutes The Universal Church. 

These reasons appear to me conclusive against denominat- 
ing any Christian societies on earth Christ's Holy Universal 
Chui'ch. I may now add, that no reason whatever exists 
why this name should not be applied to the entire multitude 
of the redeemed. This body exactly corresponds in fact with 
the appellation. It is The Church of Christ, not apparently 
or by profession, but really, by a change of character and 
possession of privilege. It is the Universal Church, for it 
contains every sinner that is saved ; and we need not hesitate 
to say that none can be saved who are not in it. It is the 
Holy Universal Church, for every member of it either is, or 
will be, sanctified by the Spirit, as he is redeemed by the 
blood of Christ. Can there be any hesitation, then, in conclud- 
ing, that the body for which the name in question shoiild be 
reserved is the multitude of the redeemed? 

Before affirming this conclusion, however, it is due to the 
bishop to weigh two passages of Scripture, which he has 
adduced in support of his position. The fii'st of them is 
taken from i Cor. xii. 12, 13, and is as follows: *' For, as 
the body is one, and hath many members, and all the mem- 
bers of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is 
Christ. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, 
whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; 
and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." It wiU be 
easy to prove that this passage is wholly remote from the 
bishop's purpose. 

It is to be observed, that the apostle is showing, not what 
the church of Christ on earth is, but what it otight to be. 
So Bloomfield justly expounds it. " Under a metaphor de- 
rived from the mutual dependence of the various parts of the 
human body, the apostle inculcates the lesson that all true 
members of the Christian body should so act as to fonn one 


united whole, each mutually contributing to the common 
benefit of the church universal."* The connexion requires 
this preceptive sense ; and the meaning evidently is, tliat, as 
the body, although it have many members, is one in action, 
so the church of Christ should be one in action, although its 
members be endowed with a diversity of gifts. In the 13th 
verse, the apostle asserts that a basis was laid for the culti- 
vation of this practical harmony, by the state of mind in 
which it was to be presumed they had associated themselves. 
"For by one spirit," says he, "we have all been bai>tized into 
one body, . . . for we have all imbibed one spirit." That 
there can be no reference here, otherwise than metaphorically, 
to the ordinance of baptism, seems plain from this considera- 
tion, that Christian professors are declared to be "baptized 
into one body hy one spirit^ The meaning is, that the one- 
ness of spirit, or the similarity of feeling, lairly presumable 
to be the actuating impulse of those who voluntarily as- 
sociate themselves as professed disciples of Christ, and 
expressly asserted in the last clause of the verse to charac- 
terize true disciples, lays a foundation for harmonious action 
among them afterwards; or, in tlie apostle's metaphor, bap- 
tizes them into one body. This being the meaning of the 
passage, it can clearly render no service to the bishop. 

To his quotation of the 12 th and i3tl] verses, the bishop 
adds the 27th. "Now ye are the body of Christ, and 
members in particular." If this were literally so, it would 
overthrow his position by proving too much; since it would 
clearly prove that the church at Corinth, to whom these 
words wei'e addressed, was the chvu'ch universal. 2w/ta 
X/jtffTov, however, wdthout the article, cannot be translated 
^^ the body of Christ." The literal rendering is "« body of 
Christ," or "a Christian body;" that is (as justly given by 
Schleusner), "a Christian society," resembling the human 
body. In the words tlius quoted the apostle concludes his 
lengthened illustration of the metaphor introduced in the 
i2tli verse; and he fitly reminds the Corinthians, on the one 
hand, that the society they constituted bore a resemblance to 
the body (of which he had been speaking), and on the other, 
that they individually resembled the members of which it 
was composed. There is here as little to the bishop's purpose 

* Bloomfield's Greek Testament, with Englisli notes. 


as in the antecedent verses. I set it down, tlierefore, that 
his attempt to prove by these words of the apostle that " the 
body of Christ," meaning thereby the Universal Chnrch, is 
composed of societies on earth jDrofessing his name, entirely 

To the second passage adduced by the bishop (Eph. ii. 1 9- 
22) I need not advert at any length, since it merely exhibits 
the state of privilege annexed, in the bishop's view, to the 
" united society of believers " of which he supposed he had 
proved the existence. If, as I have attempted to show, he 
has failed in this, whatever the state of privilege described 
may be, it can avail nothing to his purpose. The only obser- 
vations required are, that the apostle is evidently describing 
the p'rivileges attained by the Ephesians through faith in 
Christ, and not through baptism, and that tlie edifice in 
Avhich they are said to have been " builded together " can 
be constructed of nothing less than the entire multitvide of 
the redeemed. 

It thus appears that neither the one nor the other of the 
texts which the bishop has adduced has any relation to the 
matter in hand. Not in either did the apostle mean what 
the bishop means, or intend to give the slightest possible 
countenance to the notion which the bishop puts forward. 
The case is this. The bishop has found Avords which, taken 
out of their connexion and theLr meaning, are capable of 
being applied to his purpose: he therefore gives them to us, 
not to convey the apostle's sentiments, but his own. This 
unscrupulous use of the words of Scripture is wholly unwar- 
rantable, and obnoxious to severe ceusui-e. What we expect 
when the Scripture is quoted, and what sliould always be 
given, is the meaning of the writei*. Nothing less than this 
can supply proof to any argument; while everything Jess is 
at once a dishonour to the Word of Cod, and a fraud on the 
souls of men. 

I fall back, then, on the position I had pi'eviously esta- 
blished — namely, that the only body which can properly be 
called The Universal Church, or, in an absolute sense. The 
Church, is the multitude of the redeemed. These constitute 
in reality " one mystical body, members one of another, 
Jesus Christ himself being the head" (see Eph. i. 22, and 
Col. i. 18); and to be incorporated with them is a high and 
unquestioned privilege. 


According to tliis ^'iew of the Churcli Universal, a part of 
it is always vipon earth. ; and it may be conceived (although 
I do not find this sentiment in the Sermons under re\dew) 
that such professing communities as possess the required 
characteristics are the constituent elements of at least the 
terrestrial portion of it. Thei-e are decisive objections, how- 
ever, to such a representation. 

It is obvious that all the members of the Universal 
Church must be finally saved. Wei-e it not so, there would 
be members of it in everlasting perdition; and, consequently, 
this glorious assembly, instead of being gathered into one 
hereafter, would ultimately be di\T.ded between heaven and 
hell, as it is now between earth and heaven. It is directly 
asserted, however, by the bishop of London himself, that even 
the true church on earth does not consist of persons who will 
be finally saved, but that, on the contraiy, members of it may 
come short of that felicity. Hence, then, the church on 
earth and the Church Universal cannot be the same, since 
they do not consist of the same parties. 

Again. It is laid down, in Sci'ipture that union with 
Christ, and through him with the multitude of the redeemed 
— that is, with the Universal Church — is efiected by faith in 
him. Now faith in Christ may be exercised by persons not 
united in outward Christian fellowship with any church, 
whether false or true : and thus, from another point of view, 
it appears that the parties included in the church on earth 
and the Church Universal are not the same. Hence again, 
therefore, it is to be inferred that there is no identity in the 
bodies themselves. 

Once more. The mode of incorporation with the church 
on earth is declared by the bishop to be baptism. Now 
baptism cannot be held to be the mode of incorporation into 
the Church Universal. One plain, reason for this is, that 
baptism is not coeval with it. The Universal Church has 
been in course of formation ever since the fall of man, and 
doubtless many members were gathered into it during the 
four thousand years preceding the advent of the Son of God, 
During this long peiiod, however, baptism had no existence. 
If baptism is the mode of incorporation with the mystical 
body of Christ, and the way in which (according to the 
bishop) eveiy elect sinner is added to it, how were Enoch 
and Noah, Abraham and Moses, David and the prophets, 


admitted into it 1 The only answei- is, that they were incor- 
porated with the Univei'sal Church by faith in the expected 
Messiah. This faith they exercised withoiit baptism, and 
without baptism it availed. The mode of union with the 
Univei'sal Church, therefore, this ordinance clearly is not. 

But I go further, and affirm that baptism is not a mode of 
union with the Universal Church. I prove this by recalling 
the bishop's admission that there may be persons united with 
the church on earth who may, and do, perish for ever. Now 
no member of the Universal Church can ever perish. If the 
baptized were members of it, therefore, none of them would 
perish : but baptism does not secure their safety ; conse- 
quently, it does not unite them to the Universal Church, 
Faith, which does unite simiei's to the Universal Church, at 
the same time ensures their salvation. " Believe on the 
Lord Jesus Christ," said the apostle, "and thou shalt he 
saved" (Acts xvi. 31). 

I now reaffirm my position, that even those professing 
Christian societies which the bishop would allow to constitute 
the church on earth, do not constitute the terrestrial part, or 
any part, of the Church Universal. All such societies are 
composed, at best, of apparent Christians; the Church Uni- 
versal is composed of real ones. The terrestrial portion of 
this body consists of all truly pious persons scattered 
throughout the world, whether united in church-fellowship, 
or not. They are in spiritual union with each other by 
means of their common union to Chi'ist; but they have no 
external union. They do not constitute a " visible body," 
nor have they any ecclesiastical incorporation. They are one 
with Christ ; they are one in Christ ; and they are one, 
through Christ, with all the redeemed. This, and this alone, 
is their catholicity. 

In the Scriptures the phrase The Church is e\ddently 
applied to terresti'ial societies in a modified meaning. As a 
church is a company of professed believers in Christ, so The 
Church is naturally formed of the entire aggregate of such 
companies. The name, therefore, may be regarded as deno- 
ting merely the fact of a social Christian profession. In this 
view, all parties who call themselves Christian churches are 
so. Any company of persons may give themselves that name ; 
and who has a right to take it from them % It may be true 
that no persons ought to take that name who do not fulfil 


certain conditions ; but who is to judge whether this is 
reah'zed in a given case 1 Those assuming the name 
doubtless think they are jnstifted in it ; and, if they are in 
error, their case is to be adjudicated, not by any portion of 
their fellow-professors, but by the Lord of all. If any party 
were to be held authorized to examine the pretensions of 
the rest, and to say to one, "You are a church," and to 
another, " You are not," it would be a matter of insuperable 
difficulty to determine which it should be. The church of 
Rome, of course, would put in the first claim, and (so far as 
I can see any difference among claims which are all invalid) 
the best ; but, if this should be allowed, the Church of Eng- 
land suffers immediate excision, and even the bishop of 
London is put out of the pale of salvation. The truth is, 
that, on this point, every society must judge for itself. 
None is called a church of Christ in the first instance by 
others, but by itself; and parties doing so afterwards merely 
recognize, by an act of courtesy to which all are entitled, the 
assumed appellation. The pi'actice of inter-communion turns 
upon a question, not of ecclesiastical existence, but of eccle- 
siastical piirity. It supposes one to ask, not whether a given 
professing body be a church, but whether it be what, in our 
judgment, a church ought to be, or so neaily such as to war- 
rant our actual fellowship. The answer to this question vv-ill 
evidently vaiy according to the opinions of the propounder 
of it, and cannot in any case be set down as more than his 
(jpinion, without elevating the individual to the rank of an 
infallible arbiter of the meaning of Scripture, and destroying 
the right of private judgment altogether. 

In fine, the visible church of Christ is nothing more than 
the church of Christ as it is seen. It is the a^iparent church 
of Christ, or that which apjjears to be such : that is to say, it 
consists of all societies which assume the name. 

It is, I think, altogethei- an erroneous interpretation of 
the will, and even of the desire, of our Lord, to hold that 
liis professed disciples ai'e called on to cultivate a visible 
unity, or a unity of form and organization. His prayer, 
recorded in John xvii., is plainly dii'ected to a imion of heart 
and affection: — "That they may be one, as thou, Father, art 
in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us." 
That an external and ecclesiastical unity is intended by tliis 
language, is one of the hardest things that divines of any 
class have ever undertaken to demonstrate. 


The application of the principle now laid down to tlie 
hishop of London's doctrine of The Church is obvious. His 
idea of the necessity of a sinner's being incorporated with 
The Church in order to salvation, rests entirely upon the 
supposed existence in the world of a body which can pro- 
perly be called " Christ's Holy Catholic Church." Of course, 
if this supposition is unfounded, there is no possibility of 
the contemplated incoi-poration ; and a sinner, if saved at all, 
must be saved without this process. As to Christian com- 
}nunities which do exist upon earth, whether sepai-ately or 
in 'combination, since they do not constitute the "united 
society" he contemplates, it does not appear that the bishop 
would attach any importance at all to the process of incor- 
poration with them. I do no injustice to the bishop's doc- 
trine, therefore, in saying that, if the existence of the body 
he designates is disproved, the whole of his system is over- 
turned; and I am sure that I do only justice to himself in 
believing that he Avoidd immediately abandon his system, if 
he saw that its foundation was destroyed. 


I proceed now to advert to the bishop's account of the 
design and efficacy of The Church. He tells us "that its 
office is to bring sinners to Christ, by furnishing to those who 
are incorporated into it the means of knowledge and holi- 
ness ; and that it is, therefore, not merely instrumental, as a 
teacher, but sacramental, as a medium of the believer's per- 
sonal union with his Saviour, conveying and dispensing 
grace" (p. 16). 

Of coui'se, in all this it is " Christ's Holy Catholic 
Church" which the bishop has in view ; and the proved 
non-existence of such a body on earth invalidates it all. 
But, passing this, let us notice the principal points in this 

The bishop here acquaints us that The Church has an 
"office." This language is objectionable. Doubtless there 
are purposes for which Christ instituted that organized 
association of his followers, under various modifications of 
which so many parties have assumed the name of a church ; 
but to say that The Church has an "office" is to speak in 
tropes, and to use a metaphor adapted to mislead. It implies 


a unity in the church, which has already been denied to it ; 
and a compactness and possibility of united action wliich it 
could not have, even if it were one. 

" Its office," the bishop goes on to say, " is to bring sinners 
to Christ." If I could admit that The Church has an office 
at all, there is a sense in which I could readily admit this. 
Undoubtedly, to bring sinners to liimself is one of the purposes 
for which Christ directed the organization of his followers, 
and a purpose which every professed disciple of his should 
zealously endeavour to promote. The bishop, however, is not 
thinking of "those that are without," but of the "sinners" 
that az"e within; for he says — "Its office is to bring sinners 
to Christ, by furnishing to those who are incorporated into it 
the means of knowledge and holiness." I cannot agree with 
him here. I look, for example, to the church at Jerusalem, 
and to the entire Acts of the Apostles; and it seems to me 
e\T.dent that the Gospel ministry thei-e maintained, in so far 
as it related to the salvation of sinners, was addressed, not 
to the church, but to the world, not to those within the pale, 
but to those without it. "The means of knowledge and 
holiness" were undoubtedly furnished to those within; but 
this was for the edification of the saints, not the salvation of 

The bishop jiroceeds. The Chiirch " is, therefore, not 
merely instrumental, as a teacher, but sacrariiental, as a 
medium of the believer's personal union with his Saviour." 
Let us ponder this. 

The Church is "sacramental." What, then, is "The 
Church"] The bishop's own account of it is, "that it is 
the whole body of the faithful, in all parts of the world" 
(p. 6). But "The Church is — sacramental"! What, then, 
is a sacrament 1 

A subsequent expression throws a melancholy light upon 
the bishop's meaning. "The Cluirch is sacramental," says he, 
"conveying and dispensing grace." He here takes up the 
general idea of a sacrament as held by the Anglican and 
some other churches — namely, that it is a ceremonial act 
in the performance of wliich divine grace is bestowed ; as 
regenerating grace in baptism, and nourishment by Christ's 
body in the Lord's supper. His meaning is, then, not lite- 
rally, according to his own words, that " the church is sacra- 
mental," but that the act of being united to the church is an 


act of a sacramental cliai'acter, an act in which, as in bap- 
tism and the Lord's supper, grace is bestowed. 

Before pi-oceeding to animadvei't on this sentiment itself, 
I must notice the manner in which it is expressed. It is not 
merely the unintelligible phrase, " The Church is sacra- 
mental," but the mischievous expression, " The Church con- 
fers and dispenses grace," to which I desire to draw attention. 
The language employed is adapted to convey to an unguarded 
reader (and this class comprehends almost all readers) the 
idea of an act performed by The Church. Now the confer- 
ring and dispensing of grace, whether the grace of regenera- 
tion, or the grace of pardon, or grace of any other kind, does 
not belong to The Church in any sense of that term ; but is 
the absolute prerogative of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever 
modesty there may seem to be in assuming this prerogative, 
not for individuals, but for The Church collectively, the 
assumption cannot for a moment be admitted. I cannot 
hesitate to affirm in the broadest manner, that The Church 
cannot, in any sense of that term, or to any extent whatever, 
confer or dis])ense grace. If the contrary of this is held, I 
challenge explicitness in the assertion of it. 

Were any attempt made to affirm this obnoxious dogma, 
I should immediately ask. Who, then, is The Church ? " The 
general assembly of the faithful" (which is the bishop's 
definition) it cannot be, since they cannot be combined in 
unity of action. Some other body, therefore, must be meant 
by the chui'ch in this connexion, and I requu-e the name of 
it. Who, vmder the name of The Church, claims to confer 
and dispense grace 1 

I know of no answer that could be given to this inquiiy, 
but that the clergy are, quoad hoc, The Church, and that 
they, therefore, can confer and dispense grace. But I should 
object to the clergy being called The Church. It is calling 
them what they are not: and, although in some churches 
they may have acquii-ed the executive power, there is nothing 
to show that a prerogative which, if it belong to The 
Church, must be diftused through the whole body, has been 
concentrated in them. For the clergy of any church to 
make such an assumption would expose them to the justest 
imputations of artifice and priestcraft, and the severest 
denunciations merited by hypocrisy and fraud. It would 
result, moreover, from such an assumption, that the power of 


conferring and dispensing grace must reside with each indi- 
vidual of the clerical body; since the clergy of the whole 
church cannot act in unison, and each must, in the great 
majoi'ity of instances, act alone. We should thus arrive at 
the monstrous conclusion, that every individual of the clergy 
has within liis power, and at his discretion, the glorious pre- 
rogative of the One Mediator, that of conferi'ing and dis- 
pensing grace — of regenerating souls, and forgiving sins ! 
Even apostles never assumed such a power : yet nothing less 
than a claim to it lurks in that insidious and pernicious 
phrase, " The Church confers and dispenses grace." 

I return now to what I have before stated to be the 
probable meaning of the bishop — namely, that the act of 
incorporation with the chui-ch is one in which grace is 
received by the party. The Church being "a medium of the 
believer's personal union with his Saviour." 

We have here the reason assigned why in the act of 
church-union grace is received — namely, that, through being 
united to The Church, the party is united to Christ. On this 
I make two observations. The first is, that this representa- 
tion cannot be true of any Cliristian societies on earth, since 
none of them constitute that mystical body of Christ which 
the bishop has in his eye. Tlie second is, that, with regard 
to the church in its spiritual sense, the true and only Church 
Universal, it inverts altogether the evangelical order. The 
bishop conceives that believers are united to the church first, 
and then, through this medium, to Christ : whereas, on the 
contrary, they are united to Christ first, and through him to 
his church. It is the immediate efiect of faith in Chiist to 
unite a sinner vitally with him ; and through this medium 
he becomes connected by living sympatliy with all other 
believers, each of whom is, iu like manner, connected with 
Christ. The only way to become a member of the mystical 
body, is to be united with t